On one sunny day in Jakarta, a girl was sitting down in her room, roaming through all her messy stuff while she was getting ready to move into her new flat in Bandung. While she was packing, she opened up her closet only to find out that her clothes had been collectively piled up without having been worn for a long time. At that time, she only had two choices: to keep it inside the closet until it gets naturally damaged or to throw it away. She chose none of them. Instead, she decided to call all of her friends, asked them to collect all of their unused clothes, sold all of their secondhand clothes to public, and donated all of the profits to unprivileged kids to continue their education.
And that’s how Sadari Sedari was born, initiated by Nabilah Kushaflyki, an alumna of Institut Teknologi Bandung.
Sadari Sedari is an educational and environmental non-profit organization that collects wearable secondhand clothes from the public and resells them to the public through online and offline means. The profit generated from the sales will be donated to support the education and development of foster children of LKSA Nurul Ihsan, including their school tuition, supporting facilities and regular workshops held by Sadari Sedari to foster the creativity of the foster children. Sadari Sedari is also dedicated to introducing eco-lifestyle to the public, such as 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle), less waste and many more.
This journey firstly started on Nabilah’s concern on clothes. As an Environmental Engineering student, Nabilah realized that unused clothing is part of the waste, and therefore it would also pollute the landfill once it’s thrown away. While most people are sinking into the current fashion trends and unconsciously contributing into the cycle of consumerism, we need to think about it for a second: where do our clothes go once we throw it away?
The latest data quoted by Forbes revealed that second to oil, the clothing and textile industry is the largest polluter in the world. Fast fashion garments, which we wear less than 5 times and keep for 35 days, produce over 400% more carbon emissions per item per year than garments worn 50 times and kept for a full year. Meanwhile, consumers also throw away shoes and clothing [versus recycle], an average of 70 pounds per person, annually.
Being aware of this crucial issue, Nabilah discovered that there has not been a strict regulation regarding waste sorting in Indonesia. Thus, textile waste is mixed up altogether with domestic and non-organic waste, making it highly difficult to be recycled. Whereas fast fashion industry may be the most responsible party to put the blame, Nabilah understands that this is also a collective responsibility between consumer, producer, and regulator. So, as a consumer as well as an agent of change, in February 2018 she decided to create a platform to spread the awareness of textile waste to the public, while also helping kids to go to school.
Starting from her own and friends’ clothes collections, she opened up the doors for any donator who wanted to donate their unused clothes. Soon, they created a thrift market out of it and donated all of its profits to kids in LKSA Nurul Ikhsan. Their donations were sent to provide the kids’ education needs—be it for school tuition fees, stationery, books, and other school-related needs.
Not only providing thrift market in online and offline platforms, as well as donating the profits to unprivileged kids, Nabilah also stated that the team has always ensured that their offline market is sustainably created. They rechecked all the preparations and equipment, making sure that they would not produce any waste. In the latest Pasar Raia 2.0—their annual offline thrift market—Sadari Sedari team decorated their market with unused colourful garments, with intention to create a blanket out of it once the event is finished. Not only that, they also created and sold several tote bags from aluminium foils, which was the material they used as decoration in their previous Pasar Raia 1.0. Even the food stalls that were present in the event only used food container that was made from non-plastic. Moreover, they also invited visitors to discuss more about any environmental topics and healthy lifestyle through the talk show that was present during the event. That way, Sadari Sedari hopes that through this sustainable and eco-friendly offline market, the visitors will also be encouraged to shift into a more healthy and mindful lifestyle.
Although many visitors might only come to buy high-quality secondhand clothes without thinking about the cause, but this act of thrifting is one of many effective ways to minimize the textile waste, Nabilah stated. When we thrift, we buy each other’s products. It means, we are only doing transactions between consumers, and it will somehow reduce the demands from the fast fashion industry. When the demand is low, the industry will also reduce their amount of production, and it will give impact to the minimization of textile waste that heavily pollute our earth. That being said, we are a step ahead to become more responsible consumers who don’t only consume goods, but also create solutions together for the long-term scenario.
During this progressive journey, Nabilah and Sadari Sedari team are faced with many challenges throughout the way. With the power of digital media, they are not the only community who promotes sustainable fashion through the act of thrifting. However, they overcome this challenge by seeing it as an opportunity, rather than a barrier. Through insightful discussions with like-minded people, Nabilah realized that the key is to collaborate with others. By collaborating and cooperating with people who share the same value, the goal they desire would be easier to achieve.
When we do good, another good will come to us—that’s one of the values that Nabilah always tries to inherit to Sadari Sedari team. With the vision and mission to be creative, collaborative, and sustainable, Sadari Sedari is one journey away from making a good impact on our people and our earth. However, a good impact starts with us. It starts with our approach, our intention, and our change of habits. Though the process is not easy, it doesn’t mean that it’s not do-able. There is always a possibility to create a change and to make an impact. When we are determined to do that, the universe will conspire to help us—just like Nabilah’s wise words, “may the universe always helps us with everything that we do in this world”.