Investigating the development of circular fashion by applying zero-waste design in pattern cutting and sewing

by Hanieh Choopani, Independent researcher

Fabric waste in apparel production was the reason to study zero-waste design techniques and the prevalent pattern making methods. However, this study was not only focused on those techniques, but also on the actions that should be taken to contribute to the development of circular fashion.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

An interesting finding from this research is that 15 percent of the whole fabric (same as the figure in other countries throughout the world) is wasted in the pattern cutting and sewing stage in apparel production in Iran. What was suggested in the research is how to prevent the 15 percent by applying zero waste design techniques. Those techniques were introduced by studying the history of costumes in Iran and contemporary designers’ works. The techniques include making fully fashioned clothes, using minimal and geometric cuts, as well as the fabric’s full width, jigsaw puzzle, and using appliques and Iranian traditional embroideries to maintain the aesthetic aspect of the garments.

Additionally, a comprehensive framework was introduced for the development of circular fashion in apparel production in Iran. The framework suggested low-scale local production, the application of environmentally friendly and compostable materials, designing modular clothes with a capability to be upcycled in the future, considering the garments life cycle from the beginning (design stage). Wearing carefully designed garments which do not generate waste and pollution and are produced locally in a slow pace leads to sustainable fashion consumption. Clothes made by proper materials would not pollute water with microplastics while washing them. This is just one example of a thoughtful design impact on sustainable fashion consumption.   

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