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Service Design (MA)

Najung Kim

Human-centred thinking is the most important factor when I design. I worked as a UX designer in the U.S. and published books as a side job. Studying Service Design at the RCA has inspired enthusiasm for analysing human behaviour and understanding psychology to approach people's needs, which positions me to tackle the toughest challenges better.

While working on the final project, I encountered a number of difficulties but also learned a great deal. This unprecedented pandemic forced me to stay at home. The state of not being able to meet other people caused me a lot of stress and loneliness, but at the same time, it helped me find the topic for this project. Unlike before the pandemic, I ordered garments and household goods from digital platforms and ordered more food for delivery. When I saw the garbage that piled up at home due to these deliveries, I thought about the environment. It occurred to me that the small environmental changes that my actions caused would not be my only problem, and I began to take a focus on sustainability.

The lockdown helped me find the topic for this final project, but also showed me a lot of challenges while working. Closed shops have made it difficult to find suitable interviewees, making it quite impossible to grab a coffee. But at the same time, I learned that there were many opportunities created in the digital space.

The Covid-19 pandemic, which has been going on for more than a year, made it difficult to interact with others, but made me feel they were more important. Also, this helped me focus more on human centered experiences for service design.

Two years of learning in England helped me make my thinking more flexible and global. Following graduation, I will find ways to understand people better, system thinking, and coming up with creative ideas realistically.

Service Journey
Background — Fashion makes a sizeable contribution to climate change. Although consumer fashion waste has recently come under the spotlight, businesses continue to throw away 40 times more textiles than consumers. What's more, while most people pay attention to large fashion companies, small and medium fashion brands account for half of the fashion industry and they are an important driver of industry change. However, they often lack sufficient time and labour resources, making them avoid sustainability.
RE:UP Service Concept — RE:UP targets consumers, especially trendy Gen Z and Millennials and small and medium-size fashion brands. To tackle the lack of resources faced by small and medium-sized fashion brands, individual fashion designers are integrated into a circular system that reuses leftover fabrics or unsold/returned garments from brands. Unique fashion items made by individual designers are sold to consumers, who can access the information of brands and designers participating in the circle and the production process.
Recycling and Redesign from small and medium-sized fashion brands — RE:UP encourages small and medium-sized fashion brands and individual fashion designers to recycle textiles destined for landfills and redesign unique fashion items, thereby infusing creative energy into the fashion industry. RE:UP installs collection boxes in their offices and manufacturers to help workers gather textiles easily. Printing the brand name on the box makes it easier for RE:UP to collect information on the type and number of materials each brand provides.
Redesigned unique fashion items from individual fashion designers
Redesigned unique fashion items from individual fashion designers — Collected materials are uploaded onto digital platforms where individual fashion designers can order free materials to construct new products. Designers can use these materials to produce garments, accessories, and other fashion categories without restrictions. The only caveat is that designers must upload sources and information regarding the used materials, in order to transparently communicated these contents to consumers.
Support consumers to reach transparent environmentally based information. — RE:UP offers GenZ-millennial consumers the opportunity to find special fashion products. On the main page, consumers can see how RE:UP collaborates with small and medium-sized brands to reduce waste. In addition, information on eco-friendly approaches from individual designers and brands that provide recycled materials for making products appears on the product page. When consumers are satisfied with the environmental priority of the designers, they can give the designer a high eco-rating.
The impact: Green fashion industry for small and medium-sized fashion brands, individual fashion designers, and Gen Z-Millennial — RE:UP can help break the cycle of fashion brand manufacturing waste and naturally produce green images for brands, allowing them to have the competitive edge in appealing to consumers. It also provides opportunities for fashion designers to maintain eco-friendly careers and redesign products at a low cost. By naturally informing consumers to consider when purchasing products, this service encourages them to consider environmental factors when making purchases, even from other online retailers.
RE:UP in the future — Individual designers can establish new brands at low cost through material recycling and naturally enter the fashion industry. Meanwhile, small and medium-sized brands can expand their scale by informing consumers of their brand stories to gain loyal customers. RE:UP will assist fashion workers and industry growth within an eco-friendly circle, starting with a small service with small and medium-sized brands as opposed to fast fashion.

RE:UP is the platform for consumers, small to medium independent fashion brands, and individual fashion designers to become a part of the circular fashion economy, through sharing environmentally based information. It aims to reduce wastes from fashion industry, making the consumers, fashion brands, fashion designers as part of the whole cycle, in a more conscious way.