garment scarf -UN f/w 2010 collection
Every time I cut a garment out of fabric I am struck with the pile of fabric scraps I have left over. I always save them (I have bins of these) thinking someday I will make a quilt or incorporate them into another garment or give them to friends, etc. I’ve done a little of this -the children’s scrap series dresses were based on using up scraps. But there are just too many to use up. The estimate is that 15% of fabric in the clothing industry is wasted.
In my s/s 2010 collection I started experimenting with garments made with zero waste. The rectangle dress was made this way. While it’s probably my favorite piece in the collection, and I wear the one I made for myself quite a bit, it does have a strange shape and fit. Loose, boxy and architectural. Definitely not for everyone.
In the sustainable fashion world there is a growing movement of people working with zero waste patternmaking. One of my favorites is Yeoh Lee, whose work is simple and understated but full of texture and rich fabrics. Some of the designers favor elaborate patterns that fit together like a puzzle to eliminate waste when cutting. I tend to prefer simple pattern shapes that are draped on the body, creating new silhouettes and volumetric proportions. I’m continuing to explore this way of working, going slowly and using very simple shapes. The above “scarf”, made of deadstock cotton knit, is my latest attempt. This really couldn’t be simpler and can be worn in several ways. I think it would be great layered over a loose, patterned dress.
There was recently an article in the New York Times about zero waste design. It mentions a new class that is being held this fall at Parson’s school of design. I so wish I could take it.