Thursday, June 2, 2011


    “To eliminate the concept of waste means to design things…from the very beginning on the understanding that waste does not exist.”—William McDonough and Michael Braungart (104)

    Millions of textile scraps enter landfills as more and more clothing is produced. 1 Timo Rissanen, a zero-waste pioneer, educator, and designer indicates that despite the fashion industry’s strife for maximum efficiency in material use, only about 80-90% of fabric is used. 2 Rissanen designs and creates garments that utilize 100% of the fabric and generates no fabric waste. Below is a Hoodie pattern Rissanen created and constructed. 

    Timo Rissanen, Zero-Waste Hoodie 2009
    Inspired by the work of zero-waste pioneer Timo Rissanen, Susan Avila’s Design 170 Experimental Fashion class created zero-waste garments from about 1 yard of digitally printed fabric. Students drew inspiration from photographs taken on the UC Davis campus. Images ranged from redwoods in the Arboretum to abstracted images of the sewing lab floor. The cost of these personalized fabric prints ranged from $40-80, which further encouraged students to use all of their fabric.

    Students began by creating three small mock-ups for their wooden mannequins. They experimented with different silhouettes to create shirts, jackets, pants, and dresses. 

    Left: Gabriela Mendez, Desiree Cox, David Lee (Front to Back)
    Right: Antonia Huang
    Helen Trejo

    After deciding which silhouette and design would suit the zero-waste project best, students finalized their designs to create full-scale mock-ups. 

    Left: Desiree Cox
    Right: Nidia Trejo, Kim Ju, Charlotte Pong

    Anxious to begin their final garments after the mock-up critique, students printed, steamed, and washed their fabrics. They began to work diligently on their zero-waste projects. 
    Left: Nidia Trejo preparing to cut fabric
    Right: Heidi Lo draping small embellishments 

    Ophelia Song sewing

    These are their final garments! 

    Kim Ju Jacket; Original Photograph: Sewing lab floor

    Charlotte Pong Transformable Dress; Original Photograph: Co-Ho Stained Glass Windows

    Haley Gilhooly Shirt; Original Photograph: Redwood Tree in Arboretum

    Theron Brown Vest; Original Graphic Design

    Courtney Siperstein-Cook Dress; Original Photograph: Heather Flowers

    James Choi Shirt; Original Photograph: Windows of UCD Library

    Olufunmilayo Alabi Dress; Original Photograph: Ceiling of Mondavi Center

    Arleen Fung jacket; Original Photograph: Close up of Walker Hall Window 

    Julie Her Shirt; Original Photograph: Crochet Ornaments on a Tree Near Silo

    Rebecca Price Shirt/Dress; Original Photograph: Bicycles 

    Kathleen Dycaico Jacket; Original Photograph: Redwood Tree

    Heidi Lo Jacket; Original Photograph: Wood Chips

    David Lee Dress; Original Photograph: Rose

    Sandy Hsieh Tote Bag/Skirt; Original Photograph: G-Line Unitrans

    Ophelia Song Shirt with Hood; Original Photograph: Leaves

    Gabriela Mendez Shirt/Dress; Original Photograph: Ladybugs in Arboretum

    Antonia Huang Jacket; Original Photograph: Leaves

    Nidia Trejo Dress; Original Photograph: Bicycles

    Jennifer Ma Romper; Original Photograph: Rose

    Helen Trejo Jacket; Original Photograph: Brick Stairs 

    These wonderful projects exemplify creative, sustainable student work that contributes to innovate zero-waste fashion developments.

    1. McDonough, W. & Braungart M. (2002). Cradle to Cradle. New York: North Point Press.
    2. Hethorn, J., Ulasewicz C., eds. (2008) Sustainable Fashion. Why Now? New York: Fairchild Books, Inc. (186-206)

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