Project Overview

Comeback is an end-to-end clothing swap app aimed at reducing the consumption of fast fashion to instead popularize the recycling and exchange of clothing and accessories.

The idea for this hypothetical project came from my own experience organizing seasonal clothing swaps in my local community. With the onset of the pandemic, I was inspired to digitize this practice, and create an online space where users are able to swap clothing on a completely non-monetary basis. The goal is to create an alternative for fashion enthusiasts to reinvent their wardrobes without shopping for new items—rather swapping becomes the more sustainable movement forwards.

Not only is this project introducing a new company, it is also introducing the novel concept of digital clothing swaps, without any monetary exchange involved. To tackle this challenge, higher level goals were set to:

  • develop a brand and visual concept for the app that attracts users from other second-hand shopping platforms, while also building trust in the swap process
  • ensure that the shopping experience, including the swap "checkout" is as easy to use as regular commerce apps


8 weeks in Summer 2021
180 hours


User Interviews
Competitive Analysis
Problem Definition
User Personas
Site Map and User Flows
Branding and Logo
Wireframes and Prototype
Testing and Iteration




UX Researcher
UX/UI Designer


Solo Project


View here

Gaining Understanding


I started by researching existing clothing swap apps and found that they were all restricted to operating in a specific geographical location. However, it was still interesting to learn about their different operating and business models, including how they showcase the clothing products and facilitate the swap itself. I also noticed that the existing clothing swap apps currently only cater to women's clothing. Recognizing these limitations, I decided to expand the research scope, also looking into popular community platforms for second-hand shopping. By analyzing the functional layouts and interfaces of these platforms, I gained insight into the range of features and popular services offered.

Some key takeaways include:

  • Two out of the three swap or trade platforms incorporate their own token or coin system to facilitate the exchanges
  • Some platforms include shipping features while others operate on a meet up basis
  • Surprising features include a "Borrow" section for clothing and "In Search Of" listings

Gaining Empathy


From the secondary research, I realized that there was a wide range of business and operational models between the different swap or trade platforms. To better understand how Comeback would be structured, I needed to conduct user interviews to gain deeper insight into user motivations, needs and frustrations. I sought out to interview people who buy clothes online, who are open to or current second-hand shoppers and those who have participated in clothing swaps. Primary goals of the research include: 

  • Discovering user motivations for clothing exchange rather than buying
  • Understanding how users are currently shopping for clothing online, and platforms they frequent (eg. fast fashion, small brands, vintage)
  • Uncovering any barriers, concerns or pain points users face when considering clothing swaps

From eight interviews with users aged 18-30 years old, main takeaways from the research revealed that:

Second-hand shoppers prioritize fit, price and quality. They enjoy the hunting process of finding both unique and basic items that are high-quality for a much lower price than traditional retail.

When considering clothing swaps, people have concerns about cleanliness as well as the standard of clothes up for swap; since the variety and quality will be dependent on the community and participants involved.

Participants of clothing swaps appreciate the social aspects of clothing exchange, sharing stories about their items and building community.

When shopping online, users are most frustrated by inaccurate product photos, hidden fees and issues in shipping. However, all users appreciate the option for shipping due to convenience.

Why Comeback?


After in-depth research of both existing apps and user needs, it was apparent that there was a gap in the marketplace for an app that is available to more people without geographical restrictions. As a clothing swap app, it is critical to be inclusive of a greater audience, in order to increase the inventory, quality and ultimately appeal of the clothing on offer. Therefore, I've defined the overarching problem to be:

How might we design a clothing swap app as accessible as possible? To attract a greater audience and facilitate swaps without location barriers?

Meet Nick & Emily


In digitizing the clothing swap experience, I wanted to embody the same ethos of the in-person events I used to organize—that they were made as accessible as possible for all community members, encompassing a range of body types and all genders. Especially after speaking with users in the interviews, there was great interest for both men's and women's clothing, and including them would help to attract a wider audience to gain greater quality and quantity of items to swap from.

In this way, I've developed two user personas built upon research findings. Nick is a millennial who values functional and quality pieces for a minimalist closet. While Emily is a Gen Z who likes to be more creative and experimental in her fashion choices. Both of them are open and curious to try alternative solutions to fast fashion and explore more sustainable options.

User Experience


With the research and insights gathered, I delved into defining the structure and information architecture of the app by considering user requirements as well as business model. I decided to incorporate tokens to differentiate clothing items. The app would be the centralized system to evaluate swap submissions and give out tokens accordingly. This way, it does not necessitate a direct swap between two people who have to like items from each other's closets for an exchange to happen. Rather, users are able to "purchase" clothing from a multitude of closets around them using tokens. In order to do so, users first must list clothing onto the platform to obtain the tokens.

In considering the user task flow, there were actually two tasks that users must undertake to fully participate on the platform. One would be the listing of their own clothing items to earn tokens. And the second would be the spending of those tokens to acquire an item from someone else's closet.

To ensure that the swaps are facilitated as seamlessly as possible, I decided to include an option for "Shipping" in addition to "Meet Up". By offering shipping, it solves an accessibility concern for users who are not physically able to meet up. Moreover, it allows users to swap with people outside of their immediate geographical communities. Payment for shipping would be the only monetary transaction on the platform.

Branding &
Visual Design


I found inspiration for visual references by considering themes of nature, renewal and regenerative cycles. This led to the development of the logo as an intertwining of two "C"s from the wordmark, alluding to an infinity symbol.

In order to construct an attractive interface especially for Gen Z and young millennial users, it was important to generate a sense of alternative appeal, making space for self-expression and creative freedom. This led to the selection of bright and bold brand colors referencing a retro or pop art aesthetic. A strong and impactful branding is especially critical to convey trustworthiness and give a sense of quality. Especially since the clothing on offer are completely dependent on the community members involved, the branding needs to attract diverse communities that would contribute to the variety and standard of items to swap.

Designing the Solution


An important consideration when designing an app are the tab icons at the bottom nav bar that would greatly impact a user's navigation of the entire platform. In Comeback, I prioritized homepage, search page, add listing, messages and account as the main tab icons. These were also the pages that I prioritized to build out.


The homepage features a curated feed of most recent listings from closets nearby. This keeps users up to date with new products coming in while also allowing them to explore and browse through items in their community. By having an infinite scroll of listings, it gives users a chance to "thrift" and browse through a wide range of items. This is designed to facilitate the "hunting" process users said they enjoy the most when second-hand shopping.

While testing the first high-fidelity prototype on the left, many users had quickly skipped through the onboarding overview and did not get the chance to fully understand the swap process. As this was a new concept, it was critical to include opportunities on the homepage, the first page after sign in, to provide further information or review. Although in the first iteration, there was an information icon at the top nav bar, that did not prove to be enough. A more obvious clickable explanatory prompt, as shown on the right screen, was added to be a convenient reminder and point of reference for users.


The search page features a community closet section at the top to highlight community members of this platform. This is to encourage users to interact with people behind the closets and not just the clothes themselves. As learned from user interviews, clothing swap participants really appreciate the community intrinsic to the physical events, being a social space to exchange stories about the clothes and make new connections. Therefore, incorporating opportunities for community building was important especially in the search page to showcase members of the platform as well as clothing.

The rest of the content on the search page are intentionally designed with familiar patterns from shopping apps, including trending categories, popular brands and listings worldwide. It also features a search filter to narrow down selections and convenient buttons for last searched keywords.


To further facilitate community building as well as account management, the account page is home to multiple features and functions separated by tabs. In public view, the account page displays a user's items up for swap, listings they like and reviews from past swaps. It serves as the social profile with location description, a short bio and number of followers and following. This is to encourage interactions between members to foster relationships and build engagement.

In private view, the account page includes notification alerts, account settings and wallet. The wallet functions as a swap history as well as accounting for the amount of tokens users have. This helps keep track of tokens available as users list items to gain tokens, and swap items to spend tokens.


In order to receive tokens to participate in swapping, adding a listing is a critical first step.  Knowing that product photography is a common barrier for users when online shopping, this page has clear photo guidelines as well as an automatic white background filter when photos are uploaded.

To submit a listing, a list of criteria must be selected and filled out in order to obtain accurate information about the size, brand name, attributes and condition of the item. This detailed listing process helps to address concerns of cleanliness to maintain a high standard of clothing on offer, a major barrier users mentioned when considering clothing swaps. Moreover, the account profile also allows for public reviews from swappers, which would further build accountability, trust and assurance into the swapping process.

Determine Effectiveness


All participants testing the prototype succeeded in completing a swap. Many users appreciated the attractive branding, and the swap business model to maintain trust and quality. Valuable feedback was given on the overall user experience, most notably to better inform users of the swap process in the beginning and have clearer follow up to the meetup or shipping of items. Test observations and responses were recorded then organized to determine priority revisions.

Priority changes include:

  • Adding a clickable explanatory prompt and information icon at the top of the homepage to provide clarification and reinforcement of the swap process. User testing revealed that many users moved very quickly through the onboarding overview or skipped it altogether. This means there needed to be a convenient point of reference for users after sign in to become more familiar with the swap concept.
  • Modifying the wording and layout of delivery options during checkout to be more clear about the options offered.
  • Adding an alert on the message icon after checkout, to be more obvious in leading users to the automated message helping to coordinate meet ups.

Swap Don't Shop


Key screens designed in high-fidelity include onboarding, sign in, homepage, search page, add listing, account, swap checkout flow and messages.

View Prototype



This hypothetical brief was a very rewarding project as I sought to digitize a practice I used to organize in person. Although through the design process, I learned that online clothing swaps posed their own set of challenges, very different from their physical equivalents. Due to the lack of clothing swap apps currently available, it required extensive research and in depth user interviews to define a structure and operational model for the app.

Through testing and feedback, multiple elements were validated such as the attractive visual branding, the familiar patterns to search and browse through items, and effectiveness of the swap checkout flow. However, a major priority element, the explanation and clarity of the swap process can only be evaluated with further testing. Are the onboarding graphics and homepage ad-ons enough to ensure that users understand the premise of the app? How long would it take for a user to learn and become familiar with the concept? With more time, I would have certainly liked to explore these questions and ideate further solutions. Creating more opportunities for community building would be another goal for further development. As interacting with community members rather than stores is an integral aspect that differentiates clothing swaps from simply "shopping".