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Rent-a-Sari

Platform to rent and buy used Indian ethnic wear

My role | User Research, UX/UI Design

Indian Americans, like myself, live a double life. We embody two cultures, often speak two languages, and have two different closets. Maintaining an American and Indian closet can be #expensive and the social repercussions of wearing the same outfit twice are... I don't even want to get into it. That's why I created Rent-a-Sari.

I owned the end-to-end process from conducting user research, designing prototypes, and usability testing to creating the solution.

Timeline | January 2021 - April 2021

Software/programs used | Adobe XD, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Premiere Pro

WHAT IS RENT-A-SARI?

Inspired by my passions for sustainability and ethnic wear, Rent-a-Sari is a concept I developed as part of my Design Senior Capstone. This platform addresses the issue that many second generation Indian-Americans face - being able the time, space, and money to build a closet full of both ethnic and American dresses. Rent-a-Sari cuts down on all of the factors by providing a space for users to rent, buy, and sell used traditional Indian clothing.

Watch the video below to dive deeper into the research and the project.

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IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM

As my very last design project in my undergraduate career, I knew I wanted to incorporate my Indian heritage into my project. I identified 3 project topics related to India, each informed by 4 trends in tech, business, culture, and design. 

I narrowed down my scope to proposition #3, an online platform to buy/sell used Indian clothing. Over time, however, I slightly changed my scope to building an online platform for Indian clothing rentals. Below are resources I used to inform my proposition decision. The proposition is supported by a current trend in each of the 4 areas below.

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USER RESEARCH

I interviewed 14 Indian-American women. The interviews were centered around understanding their experiences around wearing and obtaining ethnic clothing and how ethnic clothing impacted their Indian culture.

Using data from these interviews, I created a journey map on the current experience of wearing ethic clothing and created a target persona.

KEY THEMES ADDRESSED

Two main themes were addressed in the research

SHAME

As immigrants, Indian Americans strive to show that they've "made it" and are financially stable. To Indian mothers, rewearing an Indian outfit is shameful as they feel it gives off the image that they are still struggling financially. This shame puts a lot of stress on Indian American daughters.

SECURITY

As a result, formal Indian events cause a lot of insecurity in Indian Americans. They strive for an experience that makes them feel confident and makes their mothers happy.

PROBLEM STATEMENT

Indian American women often feel insecurity and stress around formal Indian events. This problem exists because Indian mothers feel shame around rewearing Indian outfits, and purchasing a closet full of Indian wear is often too expensive.

 

How might we create a solution that allows Indian American millennials and gen-Z'ers to feel confident in these social settings?

INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE

Inspired by American concepts such as Rent the Runway, I quickly realized India did not have a similar platform. While Rent the Runway's suppliers are corporations, I wanted Rent-a-Sari to be a community - Indian American women helping other Indian American women. 

Once I decided on this concept, I began to map out the information architecture of the platform.

WIREFRAMING

I built initial wireframes to outline the journey that a user might have on the platform. I primarily focused on the overall layout of the page and how a user might interact with the elements.

MODERATED USABILITY TESTING

After building initial prototypes, I usability tested a partially functioning prototype that incorporated branding elements with 4 target users. 2 participants were regularly wore Indian clothing, while the other 2 were much more casual wearers of the style. 2 of the prompts I tested with customers are below:

  1. Show me how you would find a purple chudidar in the size 2 and bra size 34D. 

  2. You recently moved states and need to update your address on the platform. How might you do that?

After identifying pain points in the usability testing and limitations of the current workflows, I made further refinements to the platform.

FINAL PROTOTYPE

Below are key interfaces of Rent-a-Sari. The prototype was created in Adobe XD. 

REFLECTIONS

I set out on this project with a goal in mind - I wanted to do something related to Indian fashion. Throughout the project, I learned more about my culture and myself than I ever could have imagined. Like many of the Indian women I interviewed, I've also experienced negative experiences around Indian clothing, and I discovered more about why I felt the way I did. This project made me realize the power of empathy and design thinking - if only we practiced it more around ourselves and in our daily lives!

In a future world, I absolutely would love to continue pursuing this passion project of mine and potentially help some women along the way!