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Tuinslang Sprinkler

UPBRELLA

Goal: "Waste is food" collection 

Team size: 6

Responsibilities: Ideation, brand identity, design,

life cycle analysis, marketing analysis, and presentation 

Timeframe: Sept 2023 until Dec 2023

Smart design 

Ideation

Upbrella is known for trendy and feminine rainwear made from recycled umbrellas. The jackets, dresses, skirts, and pants offer you the opportunity to still look stylish on a rainy summer or spring day. The rainwear is easy to put on, dries quickly, and is also compactly foldable thanks to its lightweight and flexibility. Unexpected rain is no longer a worry, but an opportunity! You will meet Upbrella during your next supermarket visit. A customized Upbrella mobile unit provides the collection of old umbrellas and the sale and take-back of Upbrella garments.

Returned garments are either offered on the website's pre-owned module or melted down into new raw materials. Circularity is the future and is therefore Upbrella's guiding principle. 

"Not sure what to do with your broken umbrella? Upbrella offers you the chance to recycle and contribute to a more sustainable world."

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Moodboard

Brand

The logo and corporate identity should convey the feeling of our brand. This feeling includes summer, rain, sunset, happiness, umbrella, puff, centering, black, green and blue. The name Upbrella is a compound of upcycling and umbrellas, since this is our brand core. Moreover, the colors are deliberately chosen. Green represents the sustainable impact we want to make, and black represents the strength and minimalism of the brand. The labels also reflect minimalism. The sizes are merged into sizes 1,2, and 3. There are no hang tags, just an all-encompassing QR code label. Finally, as a characteristic detail and as an emphasis on impact, we add a label in the side seam that tells the consumer how many umbrellas were saved with their purchased design. 

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The group Upbrella wants to reach with its designs are women between the ages of 18 and 40 who live in or near the city. Their work often requires them to travel on foot, by bike, or by public transport, spending short periods of time outdoors. They are concerned about their appearance and want to look trendy even during an unexpected summer rain. These women care about the environment and are looking for sustainable alternatives.

Target group

Design

The focus of the designs is on trendy rainwear, including jackets, pants, dresses, and skirts for women to protect themselves from the rain during a wet summer or spring day. The authentic shape of the umbrellas is respected and utilized in the design of our rainwear. On the one hand, curves in the center of the fabric are used to create volume at the level of the breasts, shoulders, buttocks, knees, and elbows. On the other hand, the seams and rolled hem finishes of the umbrella are often used as the final edge finish of the rainwear. In this way, we minimize the necessary processing, which enhances sustainability. In addition, centering options are created through tunnels and ribbons. Wearing rainwear over light summer clothing creates the opportunity to keep the garment centered, elegant, and trendy. The rainwear is best suited for short periods of exposure to rain, such as when using public transportation. 

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Prototype

The final prototype is made of 100% umbrella fabric and features beautiful raglan sleeves, a three-piece hood, a peplum, and centering options at both the sleeves and waist by cords.

Life cycle 

Circularity is central to Upbrella, which is why she works using the "close the loop" tool. She strives to maximize sustainability from raw materials to the end of life. The sustainable development goals Upbrella focuses on are responsible production and consumption, partnership to achieve goals, and good health and well-being. The list below briefly quotes the sustainable nature of each phase. 

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01.

Raw materials

Upbrella works with 100% recycled umbrella fabric. For secondary supplies, recycled polyester is used as often as possible. Moreover, all suppliers are chosen based on various sustainable objectives, such as 100% green energy and proper working conditions.

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02.

Design

The design process starts with the authentic shape of the umbrella. The design is conceived using maximum utilization of the original triangle seams and rolled hem finish. The product are trendy raincoats, pants, skirts, and dresses for women. 

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03.

Production

Upbrella produces its clothing in its own manufacturing facility and domestically. The umbrellas are stripped and tested for water repellency, among other things. If necessary, the fabric is pretreated sustainably. The necessary assembly is reduced by reusing seams and finishes, reducing the time and energy required. 

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04.

Sales

The rainwear is sold through both the mobile unit and its own website. The garment comes in a reusable sleeve without any hang tags. The product includes a label with a unique QR code on which all the necessary info can be found. The first design is sold at €108, a price largely justified by the investment in the mobile units. 

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05.

Use

Designed for rainy spring and summer days, the rainwear is compact to fold and carry thanks to its lightweight and flexibility. The raw material dries quickly and is resistant to bacteria and mold, which ensures that the fabric only needs to be washed occasionally. Washing and ironing should be done at very low temperatures. 

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06.

End of life

Upbrella wants to keep its garments on its own chain, ensuring that every raw material gets a proper destination. The take-back system runs via the mobile unit. Recycled garments, after necessary repair, are offered again as pre-owned or remelted into new raw materials by our partner. 

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Marketing

To investigate the upbrella concept, we conducted market research. The most notable results are cited below:

1. 85% feel that stylish rainwear is a necessary, but still unmet, need
2. <1% of old umbrellas get a new destination
3. 95% tend to bring in an old umbrella during their next supermarket visit

After researching general, market, and company-specific trends, Upbrella is also able to identify its key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. After confronting these items, three key strategic decisions could be identified. 

1. Emphasize the use of post-consumer residual streams
2. Build consumer confidence and customer loyalty through excellent service and a return system (with a voucher)
3. Use of own-developed mobile units for operational and marketing-related reasons

Reflection

The smart design project encouraged me to think about the cradle-to-cradle principle within the fashion industry. In doing so, we had to weigh innovation against sustainability. As a group, we are satisfied that we have been able to identify a market need and even prouder to offer a sustainable answer to it. After all, it took us a while to come up with the idea, which was also our biggest challenge throughout the process. For this project, I was responsible for both the life cycle and marketing analysis. This way, I learned a lot about the preparatory work for setting up a sustainable business. Finally, I also pushed my own limits in terms of cooperation. Although difficult at times, I tried to hand off enough and rely on the work of my teammates. 

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