Omar Itani

The Lebanese Republic

Regional Winner, West Asia

First aid for fabric: remaking fashion futures

Summary of Big Idea

The impact of dumping clothing in landfill sites is catastrophic. Natural fibres such as cotton or silk produce greenhouse gases upon degradation, while synthetic fibres such as polyester are non-biodegradable, leading to similar impacts on the environment as plastics. Chemicals from dyes can have severe impacts on soil and water sources from run-off. FabricAID reuses and recycles unwanted clothes. Clothes are graded, sorted into over 46 categories, cleaned in our warehouse and redistributed to disadvantaged communities at US$0.3 – US$2 per item. We have sold more than 60,000 items of clothing to more than 7,000 beneficiaries. In addition, we collect new and gently used clothes, shoes, and accessories through our network of smart clothing collection bins located all over Lebanon, and garments that cannot be reused are shredded for pillows, chairs, couches, mattresses, and bean bags. In collaboration with the Orphan Welfare society, we also work with students from ESMOD Fashion School to create fashionable clothes and with woman refugee tailors from NGO Sawa for Development and Aid, who tailor the fabric into clothes. The new creations are sold at fashion shows at prices ranging from 100$ to 200$ to middle-class customers, under the brand name RemAID by FabricAID.


I started an award-winning waste-management company at the age of sixteen. Since then I have continued to be civically engaged through entrepreneurship and social activism, graduating as an industrial engineer to set up FabricAID.

Omar Itani's Bio

23 years
Industrial Engineer

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