In February, hip fashion retailer H&M debuts a new collection called "Waste",
featuring clothing pieced together from the fabric remnants of its earlier
collaborative collection with high-end design house Lanvin.
(The limited edition collection will only be available in H&M's flagship
NYC store.) Many blogs are buzzing over this recent news since H&M was
slammed last year in an article in the New York Times for slashing holes in
unsold merchandise before dumping it in the garbage behind its Herald Square
H&M's new Waste collection features items made from remnants of earlier collections. (Images courtesy of H&M.)
The idea of consciously reusing
fabric scraps in creative ways in garment sewing (I know you patchwork and
quilty types already do this in your creations) would be an interesting
challenge. There are several pioneering designers that have incorporated this
into their work process, such as Christina Kim of Dosa
and Alabama Chanin, both known for their
quietly eco-conscious approaches to design. But this recent high profile
approach to eco-fashion is also bringing the philosophy of zero waste design
and sewing more into mainstream discussion.
The basic goal of zero waste design
is to use every scrap of fabric in your clothing pattern, with no scraps left
behind. (Some of you Project Runway fans may remember an episode challenge that
required the designers to do just that.)
Sound easy? It isn't. We all try
to lay our pattern pieces out to minimize wasted fabric, but there are always
fabric scraps left over. And in industrial sewing some sources report that
15-20% of the fabric used in making commercial clothing ends up in landfills.
So with the increasing interest in
sustainable fashion, Parson's School of Design just started one of the first
design classes in zero waste design. And the NYT had a great article last fall
Tries on Zero Waste Design with a great
overview of the current debate and links for more info. Check it out and join the discussion.