START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

Trim The Waste: Zero-Waste Clothing Design

Trim The Waste: Zero-Waste Clothing Design

Hereís a quick Q&A:
1. Do you eat organic food?
2. Do you bring your cloth bags with you when you go shopping?
3. Do you recycle?
4. Do you compost?
5. Do you buy clothes that are made from leftover scraps of fabric?

If you checked the first four in the affirmative, and puzzled over why you are even answering number 5, youíre not alone. This question never even entered my eco-radar. If you are like me, you like your clothes comfortable, stylish and made from (mostly) natural fibers. A trend towards fashion-forward zero-waste clothing is a positive move in the right direction. Not just for the green factor, but also because it means the design world is concerned with closing the cradle to cradle loop by finding ways to truly make our lives and this planet more sustainable.

This week, the New York Times ran an article that highlighted a Parsons The New School of Design course in zero-waste fashion design.

Why zero-waste clothing design?
ďZero-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; itís 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 nationís landfills because itís cheaper to dump the scraps than to recycle them.Ē

How are zero-waste clothes made?

The designers create a garment pattern that fitís together like a puzzle. One way to eliminate waste is to create a garment puzzle. In the process, the designer drapes the fabric directly onto the mannequin without cutting. One designer, Timo Rissanen explains how the fabric is salvaged on his blog, Zero Fabric Waste Fashion.

Those of us with the DIY ethos have experienced the process of using zero-waste design principles in our creations. This article makes me hopeful that the next generation of designers has taken the tenets of green to heart, and are incorporating them into the creative process of clothing design.

Trim the waste?

This is something consumers can get behind. Now, how will the big companies respond to zero-waste clothing?

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Crafts & Hobbies, EcoNesting, Fashion, , , , , , , , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Ronnie Citron-Fink

Ronnie Citron-Fink is a writer, editor and educator. She has written hundreds of articles about sustainable living, the environment, design, and family life for websites, books and magazines. Ronnie is the creator of Econesting, and the managing editor of Moms Clean Air Force. Ronnie was named one of the Top Ten Living Green Experts by Yahoo. Ronnie lives in New York with her family.


+ add your own
10:50PM PDT on Apr 30, 2013


4:35AM PST on Dec 19, 2012

Maybe next year I'll be able to make time to do more sewing. I almost always wear second-hand clothes - either from charity shops or passed on by family and friends. Where I live, textiles can be recycled for nothing.

1:51PM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

Very interesting concept!

7:14AM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

good article...

11:32AM PDT on Jun 20, 2012


1:06AM PST on Dec 20, 2011

Thanks for the informative article.

10:44AM PDT on Apr 14, 2011

Cool. Love cradle to cradle design, manufacturing et al. Thank you for sharing.

6:03PM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

When the older generations did this, they were called poor!

11:53AM PST on Dec 1, 2010

This is what I do all the time. Amazing idea and makes me sooo happy.

12:45PM PST on Nov 9, 2010

A very neat idea and an interesting story !

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Thank you for this informative topic. The saying " You can't teach an old dog new tricks" is of cour…

Please be very careful when having rabbits neutered. We had a wonderful big rescue bunny named Thum…

And we thought kangaroo's pouches were clever...

If they do it in the US the cattle will still be on factory farms, just eating organic corn to fatte…

@ the following Decobecq B. Ann F. and such people who talk about something being sensible or legal.…


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!