System Design for a Zero Waste Fashion Industry


francesca warren

The pace of fashion has changed with brands producing upwards of six collections every year, which has led to consumers making unwise purchasing decisions based on price instead of suitability. Market research showed that 50% of people had bought unsuitable sale garments and were only motivated to do so by price. I also learnt consumers are reluctant to buy second hand clothing, saying they would always prefer new garments.

These attitudes have contributed to a throw away culture and lessened the value of fashion products.

Recent reports suggest that high quality brands are resorting to burning and shredding clothing that has not sold successfully.

The project aim was to reduce the impact of unwanted clothing that is discarded; it makes sense to utilise what has been produced to maximum benefit, working to ensure that good raw materials aren’t wasted before they’re used.

I wanted to create a sustainable system that offers more than an organic cotton t-shirt, whilst working towards reducing textile waste entering landfill.

Instead of reducing the price of unsuccessful garments, often bought for the wrong reasons and never worn, the system works to produce second life garments to form part of a limited collection. This system could also provide companies with something to differentiate themselves from their competitors, at the same time taking sustainability issues into consideration.

These unsuccessful garments have already made an environmental impact; it seems illogical not to regenerate them in a sustainable way that could make them more desirable.

The outcome is a range of prototype garments that demonstrate how the new system could work through the regeneration of reduced priced garments (bought from high street sales) into their second, third and fourth life. All garments have been regenerated using the ‘zero waste’ concept – so the whole garment is used at each stage.

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