In Conversation with Hasna Kourda
Welcome to our Circles, Hasna! Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in Tunisia where I learnt the importance of recycling and minimising waste. After witnessing how many people are disconnected from the clothes in their wardrobe, and the resulting waste driven by disposable fashion, I came up with the idea of Save Your Wardrobe. It's a digital wardrobe platform that offers people personalised recommendations and connects them with other companies can help them to mend or clean damaged clothes.
Did you always know you wanted to start your own business?
I grew up in a very entrepreneurial family but I never thought I would ever take this route. After I finished studying I moved to London where I saw a huge problem and a broken system. I became very passionate about the topic and how to solve it. I did a lot of research and dug into the roots of the problem. By working on the solution, that’s how I realised that I was building a business.
What does ‘sustainability’ mean to you and why is it important to you?
Sustainability to me is when resources are managed in a way that takes into consideration regeneration, future generations and zero waste. I watched my grandmother applying all these principle to her daily life and teach us how to think more carefully about what we buy and consume mindfully.
What is Save Your Wardrobe and what inspired the concept?
SYW is a digital wardrobe management platform that uses artificial intelligence to create a digital version of people’s wardrobes. We then use a range of different services to help people 'upcycle', improve and extend the life of their clothes.
The digitalisation process is done through two ways: Either through email receipts of online purchases or through computer vision and image recognition of an item a user captures with their phone. On top of that, we help our users reconnect with their clothes through partners including eco-friendly dry cleaners, repairs, alterations, donation, selling etc.
How does the app help make our relationship with fashion more sustainable?
Our ultimate mission is to help our community reconnect with the content of their wardrobes. We want to bring light to that #lovedclotheslast. Discovering recommendations on how to make the most of their clothes and what actions people can take straight away will help to prevent people buying things they don't really want or need. I truly believe that while we are taking a step back from our physical social life we could benefit from focusing on the environment we are living in and the clothes in our wardrobes.
How do you balance life and work in confinement as a start up entrepreneur?
Slowing down and focusing on my family and surroundings helps me cope with this whole quarantine isolation. I had already cleared out my wardrobe several months ago and I find using the Save Your Wardrobe app is changing my habits a lot! I feel more in control of what I own and anything I want to buy.
I believe that while we are taking a step back from our physical social life we could benefit from focusing on the environment we are living in and the clothes we pilled in our wardrobes.
Following this new habit I decided to apply the same techniques to food and cooking. I now eat healthier and enjoy rediscovering old tableware or cookware from my parents or my husband's grandfather. It feels really good to be surrounded by objects that have stories. It is somehow grounding.
What would be your one piece of advice on how to lead a more eco-conscious and sustainable lifestyle?
It’s a journey so enjoy it! Take one step at a time and build habits. You could start with one resolution at a time like reducing the use of single use plastic, or mending clothes. The idea is to be able to sustain these new habits in the long run. Digital tools could help to manage these resolutions and keep them up.
(Note from the author: I love the blogs on SYW's website. To discover more ways to live life in a more sustainable way and get some inspiration, take a look at their blog)
Your favourite spot in Hammersmith & Fulham?
There is a very small bakery called St Anne. It is my favourite spot and every birthday cake comes from there.
Who do you think we should interview next and why?
Poppy Rainer from Thrift+. I love to see women in tech, especially in an industry where tech is not very common.