Design that Lasts
Hang-bits are an intelligible addition to your existing clothes hangers that provide a clear indication of when you last wore a specific item of clothing. By acting as a reminder, they help raise awareness of consumption patterns and individual wardrobe habits.
As part of the final project for the course, we were tasked with re-imagining a familiar product. Hangers are perceived as interchangeable and disposable. They are discarded prematurely. To be sustainable – they need to be made of alternate materials, be recycled/repurposed/reused.
10 billion hangers are produced each year, 8 billion discarded, 85% end up in landfills.
Root of the problem
Hangers? No. It is the fashion industry. On average in the US, we don't wear 82% of the clothes in our closets.
Curious to see how we could use hangers as an entry point to tackling these challenges, we decided to explore if there was a way we could reveal and impact consumption habits through something as simple as a hanger.
Hang-bits are versatile hanger accessories that easily snap on and rotate. The bottommost piece, with its inner grip lining and arrow, has an arrow to indicate the date. The middle piece represents the month, while the topmost signifies the week. By adjusting the Hang-bits, you can effortlessly set the date whenever you hang or remove clothing items.
Available in various colors, Hang-bits can be used to categorize your wardrobe based on how frequently you intend to wear each item. For instance, you might use red Hang-bits for jeans, symbolizing frequent wear, and a blue one for a party dress, reserved for special occasions. This system serves two essential purposes: first, it helps you set goals in organizing clothing according to wear frequency, and second, it enables you to identify any disparities between expected and actual usage.
Now that you understand what Hang-bits do, let's explore their benefits in practical use. Imagine a buyer purchasing a pack of 20 Hang-bits alongside 20 hangers. For her, this simple addition to her closet serves as a personal record-keeping tool for tracking when she wears specific pants. Suddenly, hangers become more than mere plastic items hidden beneath clothes. With Hang-bits, we elevate the value of these otherwise overlooked objects.
Upon noticing four red Hang-bits amidst the 16 blue ones, she begins organizing her closet based on wear frequency. The realization that some clothes remain unworn prompts her to donate them, reflecting her newfound awareness of consumption habits. Taking pride in understanding and acting upon her behavior, she starts challenging herself to increase the red Hang-bits and decrease the blues, making a more significant difference.
Through Hang-bits, we aim to foster a stronger connection between individuals and their wardrobes. Each hanger communicates clothing usage information through bright visual cues and dates, empowering users to make informed decisions about what to wear and purchase. The deliberate effort involved in using Hang-bits enhances awareness, creating a deeper emotional attachment compared to automated solutions.
As time goes on, we envision Hang-bits providing even more value by facilitating wardrobe composition changes. Users shifting away from fast fashion will witness their progress toward a more sustainable lifestyle through the visible Hang-bits. We recognize that people attach personal stories to their wardrobes and individual garments. By increasing visibility into usage and sustainability, our goal is to create space for conscious individuals to curate a new, enduring wardrobe experience.
Our professor, Jonathan Chapman said, "Design is about sticking a pry bar into an existing crack in a space." We decided to take his advice and wedge a hanger in this crack in the fashion industry.