January 18, 2010
In the wake of H&M's and the NYPD's clothes shredding scandals, the current wave of zero waste clothing designers seems more prescient than ever. The concept behind a zero waste garment is that the pattern pieces fit together like a puzzle, so that they can be cut out of a rectangle of fabric with none of those odd-shaped pieces left over, as in Timo Rissanen's example here:
Designers experimenting with the technique come from all over: the New York avant garde, such as Yeohlee's Fall 2009 collection (left above); the mass market, with Adidas' SLVR eco-collection, which features a zero-waste T-shirt (center); London up-and-comer Mark Liu (right); and the Finnish-born Rissanen, who designs, teaches, and still finds time to follow the field on his excellent blog.
While zero waste is an ingenious method of saving fabric, it does require certain compromises in patternmaking. The simplest solution is to design extremely simple garments that are simply draped rectangles, à la the kimono; to create the fit using numerous darts and pleats, as in origami; or to cut seam allowances and hems in unexpected, decorative shapes. While I'm not convinced that including an extra bit of fabric in the actual garment is really an advantage over recycling the scrap and giving it new life as paper or insulation, my inner nerd is absolutely thrilled to see fashion and math meld together into some surprisingly fascinating and beautiful clothes.
Posted by titania at 4:51 PM