A group of Egyptian students took advantage of Covid-19 to launch an application called "Vatrina". The aim is to reduce waste related to the fashion industry and to raise community awareness of "sustainable fashion".
Since the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, online shopping has become increasingly popular in Egypt, to the detriment of purchases in physical stores. According to some estimates, the country’s online shopping sector has already gained 40% of consumers. A group of Egyptian students decided to use this opportunity to encourage as many people as possible, via the internet, to reduce the waste associated with the country’s fashion industry and to gradually migrate towards “sustainable fashion”.
To do so, the students have set up an application called “Vatrina”. Over the past decades, the fashion industry, especially the fast fashion industry (the term used to describe clothing designs that quickly move from the catwalk to the shops to meet new trends, editor’s note) has been one of the most environmentally damaging in the world. It produces 10% of the world’s carbon emissions and pollutes the oceans with microplastics. The fashion industry is also the second largest consumer of water on the planet.
The “Vatrina” application offers three sustainable options, including redesigning customers’ clothes, selling second-hand clothes and making donations. “Our market research has shown that more than 60 percent of people don’t really know what fashion or fast fashion waste is,” says Jasmine Yasser, the co-founder of the application. “This application will be used to explain to Egyptians that waste is not only plastic, but also comes in other forms,” she adds.
The launch of ‘Vatrina’ is the result of a field survey conducted by the student group over a period of time. More than 200 people participated. “It revealed that about 90 per cent of Egyptians would donate or throw away their old clothes, but are not aware of sustainable options for reselling their clothes or redesigning them for a longer lifestyle,” says Yasser.
To find more environmentally friendly solutions, the group of Egyptian students also conducted interviews with experts in the country’s fashion industry and consumers, including Egyptian women. “We found that rebranding could be one of the solutions to reduce fashion waste on our streets. We also found that women would be willing to pay a premium price for a redesigned item if it suits their clothing tastes,” says Jasmine Yasser, the co-founder of the ‘Vatrina’ application.