Our students built an app to tackle textile waste.
The fashion industry produces 13 million tonnes of textile waste each year, 95% of which can be recycled or reused – but instead ends up in landfills. Two students of the Web Development course at Le Wagon Bali, Rosemarie Sutanto and Clara Lijewski brainstormed ideas to help alleviate this severe statistic and emerged with Refab.
The fashion industry produces 13 million tonnes of textile waste each year, 95% of which can be recycled or reused – but instead ends up in landfills. Two students of the Web Development course at Le Wagon Bali, Rosemarie Sutanto and Clara Lijewski brainstormed ideas to help alleviate this severe statistic and emerged with Refab – an online marketplace for fashion students to offload their excess fabric and materials from past projects while simultaneously source new fabric for future projects at more affordable prices.
At Le Wagon, students spend the final two weeks of the nine-week course turning their ideas into live working prototypes. The team kicked off the development stage in good form, tapping on Rosemarie’s first-hand experience in the fashion industry as a recent graduate of Central Saint Martins, as well as Clara’s prior experience as a startup manager to ensure their working pace adhered to the given timeline. Having knowledge of what a proper MVP looks like came in handy, as they needed to be realistic and decisive about the focal point of their web app before moving on to the actual coding.
After two weeks of hard work, they deployed their app without a hitch. No mean feat for novice coders! On demo day, before a virtual audience, they presented Refab. The inspiration for the app may sound simple, but it harbours a bigger dream of paving a way for fashion students to actively reduce their fabric waste footprint. It may have a seemingly small impact in the behemoth fashion industry of equally behemoth scales of fabric waste, but something has to start somewhere.
The most rewarding part about creating the app? “The day we saw Refab being an actual app on our phone,” Clara says. Meanwhile, Rosemarie’s biggest pride was the horizontal scroll function in the user profile that showcases your products and favourited items. “It is always super satisfying when a design idea you have in mind actually functions as intended.”
To understand how far they have come, it is worth recalling how both students initially assumed the course to be out of their depth. “What if I suck too much to keep up?” Rosemarie remembers asking herself. While the learning curve was steep, they attribute their success to having mentally removed all preconceived notions about the subject, being persistent in practising what they learn, and channelling the habit of asking questions often to clear doubts as they rose. Feeding off the guidance, encouragement and confidence from their teachers, they soon found their groove. “I really loved the energy of being in the classroom,” Rosemarie remembers fondly. “Even if the day was challenging, it is the kind of challenging that builds you up and does not discourage you into a corner.”
Refab may be brimming with potential, but the team intends to take their time with it. Both Rosemarie and Clara are currently branching out individually to explore opportunities to further hone their coding capabilities, before deciding on a path to dedicate their time and newfound skill. The Le Wagon family is rooting for you both!
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