Presenter: Yasmeen Masri

Research Category: Humanities and Arts
College: College of Arts Media & Design
Major(s): Interactive Design
Student Type: Undergraduate
Graduation Date: 2021
Additional Authors: Michelle Pine, Katherine DeAndre, Wei-Chi Chen, Jianglei Zhu
Award Winner Category: Ethically Informed Research

While consumers are encouraged to “go green,” corporations are usually the biggest polluters-and the fashion industry is one of the offenders, producing 10% of carbon emissions worldwide and millions of tons of textile waste annually. This industry is also rife with civil rights violations where workers are mistreated, underpaid, or discriminated against.

ConsciousCart was created to allow consumers to quickly distinguish sustainable/ethical brands from unsustainable/unethical brands. We plan to do this using a unique grading system that rewards brands for policies that promote sustainability and ethical treatment of workers/communities.

ConsciousCart consists of a grading system to help us quantify brands’ sustainability and ethical efforts, a dataset containing a subset of graded brands, a high-fidelity prototype of a website where brand grades are displayed and searched, a high-fidelity prototype of a browser extension that nudges users toward¬†more sustainable/ethical brands, and blog to market the tool. The combination of these components and systems should, in execution, provide consumers with an easy way to change their shopping habits and the fashion industry.

The best way to change the fashion industry is encourage consumers to purchase from fashion brands that are sustainable and ethical, while discouraging purchases from brands that are doing wrong, or not doing enough. Through research, we’ve learned that many consumers-particularly members of younger generations-want to shop from brands that are sustainable/ethical. The problem is that consumers struggle to distinguish a “good” brand from a “bad” brand.