Social Networks of Tomorrow
A social network for the upcycling community
by Julie Guidicelli and Sarah Morélot
Tri.co is a social network that helps upcyclers buy or salvage materials, sell their creations, and learn from user-created tutorials.
Upcycling refers to creating something of value from materials that would otherwise go to waste. For the moment, the upcycling movement is driven by individuals: consumers, entrepreneurs, and enthusiasts, who apply it to many kinds of activities, from artisanal crafts to fashion design. Members of the community share a commitment to reducing waste and our impact on the environment by changing our culture of overproduction and overconsumption.
This project began when we met with the team from Studio Lausié, the second school for upcycled fashion established in France and the first located in Marseille. We spent time getting to know the needs of the school, and in particular the needs of its students, who are future fashion design professionals. We learned that salvaging raw materials takes a lot of time and dedication. It involves checking many collection points and sources, and not knowing what you’ll find means that it’s hard to plan out a full collection. The time they spend searching for materials is time they aren’t able to spend on the design process.
Meanwhile, in 2022, a new French law promoting the circular economy (Loi anti-gaspillage pour une économie circulaire—AGEC) gave the upcycling community a boost, because it incentivizes companies to no longer throw away unsold items. This means that companies are actively looking for ways to make use of their stocks of previous collections and defective products.
We designed Tri.co for upcyclers who want to take a more professional approach, and for companies that want to give away surplus goods. For upcyclers, the app is like a full-service upcycling kit: they can find and sell materials, showcase and sell their creations, watch tutorials from other users and post their own, and trade recommendations. Tri.co’s group purchasing feature makes it easy for companies and manufacturers to distribute large amounts of stock: multiple upcyclers can purchase shares of the stock to divide it up. The app also facilitates in-person pickup and dropoff. To encourage cooperation and community-building, this social network uses a parallel currency. Users earn Tri.coins by selling their creations or extra materials, then use them to make purchases.
Tri.co is still being co-constructed every day alongside its community. If you’re an upcycler or a company with materials you’d like to see reused, get in touch: let us know what you think, get involved, or become a beta tester.
We’d love to hear from you,
To test the prototype, please fill in this short FORM. You will receive an access link shortly.
Julie is a freelance art director and UX designer based in the South of France. Her studio, Atelier sur mer, is a space for expression where she experiments with notions of design and users. Her productions, which include graphic design, illustration, and paper design, explore ideas of sharing, community, and engagement. Her projects are playful visual stories built in collaboration with her clients. She believes in the importance of collaboration and diversity for creating original and useful concepts.
Sarah is a human-machine interface ergonomist and UX designer. She’s motivated by facilitating change and improving the usability of tools and interfaces. She particularly enjoys doing user research and leading design workshops.