Sunday, August 29, 2010

Zero Waste Fashion – It’s About Time!

My mom taught to lay out a sewing pattern on fabric so I didn’t waste as much fabric as I would if I followed the pattern’s layout instructions. That way I’d have more fabric leftover from the project to us for something else.

Looks like the green fashion industry is taking a page from my mom’s sewing playbook and designing zero waste clothing. It’s about time!

With the exception of fabric rationing during the two World Wars, where hems, seams, and even the amount of fabric used in a garment were restricted, designing and creating clothing leaves a lot of cloth scrap behind. Some of it like scrap denim is turned into insulation for houses. For the most part the scraps are tossed in the landfill because it’s cheaper to chuck it than find a way to reuse it.

I bet you quilters are going nuts about that.

According to the New York Times Fashion Tries on Zero Waste Design:

“Zero-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; it’s 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 nation’s landfills because it’s cheaper to dump the scraps than to recycle them.”

“The goal? To create jeans that are as close to zero waste as possible but that are also good looking — no easy task.”

I’m not so sure about that. Because of the layout tricks my mom developed and taught me, I matched the pattern in the fabric for this Elizabethan dress and had enough fabric left over to make a King size duvet cover for my bed.

Husband and I performing at the Ohio Renaissance Festival.

Looks like New York fashion designers could learn a lot from a small town home sewer in what they consider flyover country.

Go Mom!

Do you think the fashion industry is making it low and zero waste harder than it is because they've always done it the high waste way?

What do you think?

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This post is part of the Green Mom's Carnival where our topic is clothing. Check out the host, The Big Green Purse September, 24, 2010.