St Clare’s College Waverley students Suki Waddel and Olivia Zammit are set to take the world of fast fashion head on after their app, Thriftr, was named the winner of the 2021 Techgirls Competition.

The app – which helps users locate second-hand clothing in their area – took out the NSW Secondary School category and was also named the winner of the overall National Competition.

The competition is part of the Tech Girls Movement Foundation, an organisation that campaigns for a future where women will lead and innovate across STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields.

It represents a fantastic achievement for the Year 9 duo, who were inspired to create the app after seeing the negative impacts that fast fashion is having on the environment, people and the fashion industry.

User interface of Thriftr app

The app helps users locate sustainable fashion in their area

The start of something special

The pair, who spent three months coding and designing the app, said the idea for Thriftr first came about after participating in a Tech Girls workshop through school.

“Our STEM elective offers our class many activities and workshops that come from outside of the school,” Olivia said.

“One of these workshops was from Tech Girls, where we had to make a small idea to solve a global problem.”

Suki said that even after the workshop ended, “we were still really proud and interested in this app we had come up with.”

“When we had the opportunity to take it further, we both jumped at the chance” – Suki Wadel

For the good of the planet

Both fiercely passionate about the environment, the girls designed the app with the goal of targeting young adults and helping to foster a more positive attitude towards sustainability among their peers.

“As we are a part of the emerging generation, we thought it was appropriate to direct our app to people around our age,” Olivia said.

“It is very important for our generation to understand the urgent need for change in our world and the many problems it faces” – Olivia Zammit

“Through encouraging and informing users about sustainable thrift stores and websites to shop at, users will be able to make strong, environmentally conscious choices,” Suki said.

“Users are able to see the impacts their environmentally conscious choices make and the Thriftr community can work together to achieve different environmental goals.”

Marketing matters

Nicola Steele, Suki and Olivia’s STEM teacher at St Clare’s, has helped guide the pair throughout the process.

User interface of Thriftr app

Thriftr also provides information and ratings on various clothing outlets

Ms Steele said she’s been extremely impressed by what they’ve been able to produce with Thriftr.

“They’ve done a fantastic job – they were really passionate about it and they’ve been motivated to pursue it in their own time as well,” she said.

“The project they submitted was huge – they did a 40-page business plan, analysed their target market, did research with their peers and came up with marketing strategies” – Nicola Steele

“I’m incredibly proud – we all are,” Ms Steele said.

Thinking big

After taking out the top gong at the Techgirls Competition, Suki said they’re already planning the next phase for Thriftr.

“Our current goal is to find appropriate funding so we can afford to move our app forward,” Suki said.

“From there, we will probably recode and redesign slightly before hopefully launching our app on the app store for people all around the world to access and use!”

Success across the board

Marist Catholic College North Shore (St Mary’s Campus) also had reason for celebration after their app BioBeAware – which provides first aid advice and environmental information – was named winner of the NSW Primary School category.

The College also had four other entries that were named finalists:

  • Find Your Food: Assists those with allergies or intolerances to find places to eat that cater for their needs
  • Helping Hands: Consists of resources for people suffering from mobility issues
  • Job Jets: Aims to connect people with jobs that they’re passionate about
  • Stress Less: Helps young people deal with anxiety through using satisfying textures, breathing exercises and meditation