There are two main approaches to zero waste fashion design.
One approach is to design garments in a way that it produces minimal or even zero waste in production. This is not a new approach, as a lot of traditional costumes was designed this way ie. kimono, sari and chiton. This approach uses the limitations of the size and shape of the fabric as main source of inspiration, with the main techniques used being draping and subtraction cutting.
In conventional manufacturing, up to 30% of textiles are wasted, so this way of designing and making patterns can reduce that number quite significantly.
The other approach in zero-waste design is to use pre and/or post-consumer textile waste and use that as a basis for the designs. The aim is to reduce waste by up-cycling what would otherwise end up in the landfills. The material being re-used predicts the design of the garment.
Sometimes, designers use a combination of both approaches and create something very special.
Whichever approach the designer decides to use, the main aim to reduce textile waste ending up in our landfills.