What if our T-shirts, shoes, pants, and other fashion items had their own story? Imagine a digital diary from the time they leave the factory and end up in our closet for the rest of their lives with us. When did we buy them? What important events in our lives happened when we wore them? How many times did we put them on for washing? How many ice creams fell on them? Maybe then it would have been more difficult to get bored of them, to throw them away with the first tear, to change them for a new outfit. Maybe we would pay more attention to them, wash them less often in the washing machine, and thus help save raw materials and energy. Maybe we could even give them a new life and upgrade them technologically, sewing special high-tech patches that would turn them into smart clothes!
The fashion industry is largely responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions on our planet. From the production stage of raw materials to their final use, our clothes require many resources such as water and energy, while the various stages of their processing take place in factories that use fossil fuels and produce wastewater that pollutes the planet’s water resources. At the same time, the working conditions of people working in many fashion industries are problematic. Large industries in Bangladesh, India, and China employ millions of workers with very low wages for long and tedious work and without proper safety conditions. Also, most of the fashion items travel huge distances in large container ships to reach the shelves of the stores, further burdening the production of greenhouse gases. And yet the low prices that exist in many types of fashion make them in the eyes of many people as items without much value that we can easily replace. We often put them in the washing machine and dryer which are energy-consuming devices and make them more vulnerable, while without much thought we replace them with new clothes when we get bored.
Having the following goals in mind:
- Strengthen the circular model of the economy in fashion and the clothing market
- Change the mindset of consumers and businesses to give more value to their clothes
- Enhance resource savings in households and societies
We decided to create the LIFORWEAR system – Wear4Seasons at the core of which is the application for smartphones and which will be essentially a digital calendar of our clothes. There we will keep the story of their lives with information such as: where they were made, what is their composition, where and when we bought them or gave them to us, how many times we have put them in the washing machine, when and where we have worn them (on important occasions) and other.
At the same time, we decided to develop the technological patches, as a solution for the clothes that wear out. The patches will be designed by us and will be printed on our 3D printers, while they will include Microbit boards and batteries transforming our clothes into “smart clothes” with functions of measuring steps, compass, temperature measurement, etc.
The Mural platform was used for the initial design of the screens of our application. Students, starting from the notes that emerged from the phase of problem investigation and solution design, worked in small groups (2-3 people) designing the main screens of the application and how they work.
From our Github repository you can download:
Our smart patches are easily placed and removed from clothes with Velcro and by utilizing the Microbit platform they offer the following possibilities:
- Display the ambient temperature
- Display the number of our steps while walking
- They act as a compass
- They can play music
- They can send an SOS message to our friends who have similar Smart Patches on their clothes
Each Smart Patch consists of 4 parts:
- The flexible base is printed with TPU material and sewn on a piece of Velcro
- The Microbit case, printed with PLA material, sticks to the flexible base and includes the board
- The Microbit board
- The base of the Coin Cell battery also sticks to the flexible base and powers the Microbit
- Our team participated in the 4th Panhellenic Competition of Open Technologies in Education and the project was one of the 10 that got a distinction of excellence.
- At the same time, we participated in the Company Junior entrepreneurship program of JA Greece, presenting the business side of her project, with the support of Mrs. Gika Anastasia from the National Bank of Greece.
- Students also presented their creations at a special fashion show at the end of the school year along with creations from other students of the school that reused old clothes to create new fashion!