Globally and in Lebanon, the clothing industry is a large contributor of waste that ends up in landfills with severe impacts on the environment. FabricAID addresses the fabric waste problem by implementing a creative model that optimizes the fabric waste value chain through smart collection, management, need base distribution, innovative clothing bin system and social franchising.
FabricAID generates a social and environmental impact by reducing fabric waste, increasing job creation, providing affordable clothing for vulnerable communities and ensuring the sustainability of NGOs in this sector. FabricAID collects clothes from NGOs, businesses, municipalities and academic institutions through organizing clothes drives and distributing smart collection bins, for every kilogram collected a partnering charity benefits from USD 0.5. The collected clothes are graded, sorted and cleaned to be sold at extremely affordable prices to marginalized communities through thrift shops and pop-up markets. Clothes inappropriate for reuse are shredded and used as stuffing in manufacturing pillows, mattresses and other fabric related material.
In the words of Omar Itani, Chief Executive Office of FabricAID:
In December 2016 I found out that most of my used clothes goes to waste. Instead I decided to distribute them to underprivileged people in an efficient way, making sure that beneficiaries get exactly what they need. To engage more people I uploaded a Facebook post and sent a Whatsapp broadcast, within 10 days I was able to collect 200 kilograms so I tried to seek assistance from NGOs but through working with them I discovered that they lack the resources and capacity needed to efficiently collect, sort and redistribute clothes. After understanding the size and impact of the situation, Hussam and myself took matters into our own hands and created FabricAID.
Currently FabricAID employs 20 individuals and has a capacity of collecting and sorting 1 ton of clothing per day. Through grants and competitions, we were able to raise around 80,000$.
We collected 20 tons of clothing and established 10 pop-up markets where we sold 15,000 clothing items to more than 2000 beneficiaries. We won several local and international competitions such as Slush GIA, Safir Lab and UNICEF Impact Startup Sprint.
We see GSVC as a great and unique opportunity for our startup to gain international exposure and recognition. Through GSVC we expect to connect with a network that we would have not been able to reach otherwise. We also hope to learn, get inspired and collaborate with the participating startups.
ALTIS is glad to announce that GSVC was even more important for them: FabricAID won the first prize at the Global Finals, amounting to US$40,000.
Watch the video interview to Oman Itani a few minutes after he was given the prize