Hate waste? You’ll love these zero waste fashion brands!
By Katy Caric
By now, we all know the fashion industry creates massive amounts of waste. In fact, an average factory can leave up to 40% of their materials as rubbish. From textile scraps, leftover fabric, to excess thread and paper waste, there’s a whole lot that could be reduced, reused and recycled when creating garments.
Luckily, there are some fashion labels that are realising that wasted fabric = wasted money and a wasted planet, and they’re doing their best to reduce garbage creation in their production cycle by cutting patterns more cleverly, making garments on an order-only basis, and/or recycling whatever scraps they may end up having into small accessories.
The result? Innovative designs by zero waste fashion brands that will blow your mind!
Here are some of my favourites.
One of the world’s first zero-waste brands, Tonlé’s zero waste journey starts at fabric sourcing. The design team visits factories to source scrap material to get the waste fabric before it hits landfill. Any excess fabric is transformed into the recycled-fibre paper they make in-house, or is hand woven back into new yarn.
The prints at Palava are so much fun! They are filled with everything from lobsters to flowerpots and mountains. They also strive to make their production process as close to zero waste as possible by creating loose, flowing cuts; source minimal impact fabrics like organic cotton, and upcycle any excess fabric into accessories.
The lovely prints by Dagny are designed to last and be as functional as they are pretty. The brand helps contribute to the circular zero-waste economy by sourcing the most sustainable fabrics (GOTS certified) and using high tech waste eliminating machines. For example, Dagny uses a state-of-the-art digital printer to scan their prints directly onto the fabric helping to eliminate the use of water, paper, and chemicals.
This Swedish brand takes innovation to a new level with their nylon stockings that are made from pre and post-consumer waste. Along with recycled and upcycled materials, their factories are also zero-waste, reusing the waste and recycling the waste they create.
5. Raven + Lily
Raven + Lily is already known for their awesome ethics, working with at-risk women to give them new skills and a new lease on life. So it won’t be a surprise that they produce their clothing at a certified zero waste facility in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Basics brand Aiayu takes a positive approach to the waste they create. They have a specific zero waste program for all their cotton products and use the leftover fabric and cuttings for their accessories.
But that’s not all – a percentage of all their profits is donated to schools in Agra, India, that work with challenged children.
Tara St. James throws out the traditional fashion model with her brand Study New York. Instead of following a retail calendar, she produces monthly capsule collections that are made locally in her New York atelier. Instead of wasteful production, Tara uses zero-waste pattern making and inevitably when there is fabric waste, Study New York partners with Brooklyn based businesses to upcycle the fabric.
This sustainable luxury label is for the serious fashionista! It’s zero waste because everything in Bozena’s collection is made to order in a factory in Stratford, East London, where she has formed a close relationship with the women who produce her clothes. She also ensures that there’s no waste from production by upcycling scraps into details and accessories.
The husband and wife team who launched this brand make clothing for the funky, functional minimalist. They often uses contrasting colours, textures and geometrical patterns to create pieces that are fun, playful and above all, highly wearable.Behind the label is the best of sustainable practices – all their studio waste is recycled, and fabric waste is upcycled in collaboration with various charities.
Of all the zero waste fashion brands, this one may not yet have achieved full 0, but it is probably the best known, and it deserves a place here because Reformation is heading towards a zero waste at speed! They currently make most of their stunning maxi dresses and tops from deadstock fabric; create bikinis from discarded fishing nets, recycle 75% of their waste and plan to reach over 85% in the next few years, eventually reaching their ultimate goal of a big, fat zero.
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