My two loves into one article!
Zero-waste design strives to create clothing patterns that leave not so much as a scrap of fabric on the cutting room floor. This is not some wacky avant-garde exercise; it’s a way to eliminate millions of tons of garbage a year. Apparel industry professionals say that about 15 to 20 percent of the fabric used to produce clothing winds up in the nation’s landfills because it’s cheaper to dump the scraps than to recycle them.
A small but impassioned coterie of designers has spent the last few years quietly experimenting with innovative design techniques, and some of their ideas are starting to penetrate the mainstream.
But it has taken a while to reach the United States. Nearly every leading zero-waste or less-waste designer hails from another country, including Mark Liu, Julian Roberts and Zandra Rhodes in England; Susan Dimasi and Chantal Kirby in Australia; Ms. McQuillan in New Zealand; and Yeohlee Teng, who is working in New York but was born in Malaysia.
The goal? To create jeans that are as close to zero waste as possible but that are also good looking — no easy task.
Mr. Rissanen (pictured above), who is completing a doctorate at the University of Technology Sydney (his dissertation is titled, “Fashion Creation Without Fabric Waste Creation”), knows this first hand. Previously, he owned a men’s-wear label called Usvsu.
“I basically had to learn to design again,” Mr. Rissanen said of his initial forays into zero waste. “The first year and a half was a lot of trial and error.”
One way to eliminate waste is to create a garment pattern — with gussets, pockets, collars and trims — that fits together like a puzzle. Such designers favor certain cutting techniques with names like the “jigsaw cut” (from Mr. Liu) and “subtraction cutting” (from Mr. Roberts). Mr. Rissanen put his on a blog, zerofabricwastefashion.blogspot.com. Another method is to simply not cut the fabric at all, but drape it directly onto a mannequin, then tuck, layer and sew.
In some ways, zero waste is not new. Throughout history, consumers have had to adopt similar practices, such as rationing during wars, when women fashioned new outfits from old ones. Also, classic hobbies, like knitting and quilting, can be zero-waste endeavors.
I really like this idea of zero waste, but I think buying secondhand would probably be more eco-friendly than a newer garment.
Plus it’s cheaper.
I also think that cutting down on purchases of jeans would make a huge difference!
I had no idea it was so unfriendly for the environment, and to be honest, I only really like wearing one or two pairs of jeans anyway.
I don’t need 50.