Is Zero-Waste Fashion Penetrating the Mainstream?

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DPOL utilizes a loom, attached to a computer, that weaves made-to-fit garment sections. Credit: Science Museum.

About 15 to 20 percent of fabric used to produce clothing ends up in the nation's landfills. Pioneers behind zero-waste fashion have a solution: designing clothing patterns that uses every inch of fabric; if it sounds easy, it's not. The NY Times reports (via Ecco Eco): Next month, Parsons the New School for Design will offer one of the world's first fashion courses in zero waste, taught by the school's first-ever assistant professor of fashion design and sustainability Timo Rissanen and Loomstate's Scott Mackinlay Hahn. Students will take on the task of creating zero-waste jeans. More:

How is a zero-waste fashion designed?

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Mark Liu's "jigsaw cut," zero-waste fashion. Image via TreeHugger.

The NY Times provides a round up zero-waste designers techniques, including Mark Liu's "jigsaw cut" and Julian Roberts' "subtraction cutting" method. One that didn't make the cut is a zero-waste technique, called Direct Panel on Loom (DPOL), by Indian fashion designer and technologist Siddhartha Upadhyaya.

The NY Times notes that major clothing manufacturers have yet to pick up on these efficient techniques; but, why? Commercial-scale supply lines may have to be re-engineered to account for a change in standard fabric widths, which costs money and resources.

This is where the Parson's class comes in: Students will set out on the task of changing the way jeans are made and cared for. The top design will be manufactured at Loomstate's California factory and sold next spring at Barneys New York. Julie Gilhart, no doubt, had a hand in making this a reality; the fashion director of Barneys often collaborates with Loomstate and is a strong force behind ethical fashion.

VIDEO: Barneys SVP Julie Gilhart on Why Eco Fashion Needs a New Name

We look forward to seeing what the young designers, as well as Timo and Scott, come up with. Read more on zero waste fashion on Timo's blog: Fashion Creation Without Fabric Waste Creation
Article updated on 9/16 to remove direct New York Times quotes.

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