PAT­TERNS GET A MAKEOVER WITH ZERO WASTE DE­SIGN CON­CEPT

Stitch World - - NEWS -

Hardly a few would know that about 400 bil­lion square me­tre of fab­ric is pro­duced each year over world and about 60 bil­lion square me­tre of fab­ric is wasted dur­ing the cut­ting process which rep­re­sents 15 per cent of the world’s fab­ric pro­duc­tion. A ma­jor­ity of this waste ends up in land­fills mostly in the Asian coun­tries which are known as the ap­parel man­u­fac­tur­ing pow­er­houses.

One rea­son of this waste is in­abil­ity of the com­pa­nies to op­ti­mise the de­sign process. To cater to this chal­lenge, gar­ment com­pa­nies are in­stalling au­to­matic place­ment soft­ware that al­lows them to op­ti­mise the ma­te­rial by test­ing all pos­si­ble nest­ing com­bi­na­tions in less time. With the help of this soft­ware, the com­pa­nies man­age to save a small per­cent­age of fab­ric dur­ing cut­ting process; how­ever, this process can be called ‘eco­nomic’ rather than ‘en­vi­ron­men­tal’.

In gen­eral, some gar­ment fac­to­ries have been able to con­trol their fab­ric waste to 3 to 4 per cent while some are still at 15 per cent which is a re­sult of the in­ap­pro­pri­ate use of curves in pat­tern de­sign. Since cut­ting and man­u­fac­tur­ing are of­ten out­sourced from de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, West­ern de­sign­ers are only rarely con­fronted with waste man­age­ment gen­er­ated by their own col­lec­tions. They there­fore work with a pre­sup­po­si­tion that the di­men­sional con­straint of the ma­te­rial and the in­ter­weav­ing of the pieces on the fab­ric are sec­ondary prob­lems.

This leads to the idea of Zero Waste De­sign…

Re­al­is­ing that a lot can be done to re­duce the fab­ric waste by op­ti­mis­ing the de­sign process, a France-based 3D Fash­ion and Vir­tual Pro­to­typ­ing spe­cial­ist Mylène L’orguil­loux re­cently worked on a project named Mi­lan AV-JC which cre­ated pat­terns through Zero Waste de­sign. This process can be called quite in­no­va­tive as it re­con­sid­ers the way gar­ments are con­ven­tion­ally de­vel­oped. In­stead of hav­ing a lin­ear de­vel­op­ment process such as de­signer > pat­tern maker > pat­tern grader > op­ti­miser (nest­ing), Mylène im­ple­mented a sheer col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween work­ers. The theme of the de­sign is to match con­cave curved parts with con­vex ones. This way op­ti­mi­sa­tion is in­te­grated from the very first step of the process, and any­time a de­sign de­ci­sion is taken, and the im­pact on fab­ric con­sump­tion is si­mul­ta­ne­ously an­a­lysed. In a zero-waste pat­tern, the curves used are con­ceived in such a way that once the el­e­ments of the pat­tern are placed on the fab­ric, they over­lap with each other and cover all the fab­ric with­out gen­er­at­ing waste. Un­like a tra­di­tional pat­tern, where the pieces are of­ten han­dled in­de­pen­dently, the zero waste pat­tern is ge­o­met­ri­cally rep­re­sented as a rec­tan­gu­lar block, show­ing the sur­face of the fab­ric (width x length). Each pat­tern is then cre­ated by draw­ing in­ter­nal cut­ting lines. As all the pat­terns are made of the same el­e­ments, this al­lows bet­ter strate­gic de­sign de­ci­sions. De­creas­ing waste from 15 per cent to 0 per cent does not au­to­mat­i­cally mean that the to­tal length also de­creases. It re­ally de­pends on how it has been

Un­like a tra­di­tional pat­tern, where the pieces are of­ten han­dled in­de­pen­dently, the zero waste pat­tern is ge­o­met­ri­cally rep­re­sented as a rec­tan­gu­lar block, show­ing the sur­face of the fab­ric (width x length). Each pat­tern is then cre­ated by draw­ing in­ter­nal cut­ting lines. As all the pat­terns are made of the same el­e­ments, this al­lows bet­ter strate­gic de­sign de­ci­sions.

thought of while de­vel­op­ing the de­sign idea.

“We call it ‘Zero Waste Fash­ion De­sign’ phi­los­o­phy. It’s all about de­sign­ing with pat­tern shapes, rather than cre­at­ing pat­terns for de­signs. In the last few years, this phi­los­o­phy has been stud­ied by many aca­demics but more re­cently brands like COS or Skunk­funk have ini­ti­ated an in­dus­trial im­ple­men­ta­tion through zero/min­i­mal waste cap­sule col­lec­tions, so it’s now get­ting fur­ther ex­posed. How­ever, many com­pa­nies still ig­nore that we can pro­ceed dif­fer­ently,” said Mylène to StitchWorld.

She fur­ther added that her goal is to demon­strate how 3D pro­to­typ­ing tools can help the gar­ment in­dus­try re­duce fab­ric wastage. “This is a real de­sign think­ing process which com­bines sus­tain­abil­ity mind­set + tech­nol­ogy as­sets. The soft­ware which we use is Clo3d. Though it is not spe­cialised in Zero Waste Fash­ion De­sign, the flex­i­bil­ity and ac­cu­racy of this CAD sys­tem en­abled me to work around con­ven­tional func­tions and ap­ply my own process,” averred Mylène.

Ad­van­tages of Zero Waste De­sign (ZWD) con­cept…

In ad­di­tion to the ob­vi­ous eco­log­i­cal in­ter­est that ZWD phi­los­o­phy high­lights, it has other sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits too which are as fol­lows:

A) In the con­ven­tional de­sign, the edges of tighter weave fab­ric are sys­tem­at­i­cally dis­carded be­cause of be­ing dif­fer­ent from the cen­tral weave. On the con­trary, the selvedges can be fully in­te­grated into the gar­ment, ei­ther by in­cor­po­rat­ing them into sewing val­ues or by de­lib­er­ately us­ing their ‘dif­fer­ent’ vis­ual ap­pear­ance as a style el­e­ment in the Zero Waste ap­proach.

B) In the past, mar­gins of 1.5 cm to 2.5 cm were added in­side the gar­ment, while the mar­gins to­day are just 1 cm or some­times re­duced to 0.7 cm too. So, seams of the gar­ment fray and crack af­ter a few washes and it can be strongly stated that the clothes lose their sewing value to a great ex­tent over the years. With such small sewing val­ues, re­touch­ing and re­pair­ing these gar­ments also be­comes com­pli­cated. ZWD phi­los­o­phy uses the wide stitch­ing val­ues as it used to be ear­lier, not only to cover the en­tire sur­face of the fab­ric but also to make the gar­ment flex­i­ble and durable.

C) More­over, the in­ter­weav­ing of the el­e­ments of pa­tron­age on the fab­ric gen­er­ates the mu­tu­al­i­sa­tion of the cut­lines and con­se­quently the re­duc­tion of cut­ting time it­self. D) In zero waste de­sign, there is no need to pass the cut­ter blade twice in the same area.

There are bar­ri­ers too…

To cre­ate a de­sign by tak­ing into ac­count all as­pects and tech­ni­cal con­straints that a stylis­tic de­tail can have as an im­pact on the rest of the pro­duc­tion process, is the most ef­fi­cient and in­tel­li­gent way of cre­ation. Such an ex­change is also the op­por­tu­nity to bring out new de­sign dy­nam­ics in terms of vol­ume, shapes and styles. How­ever, there are a few bar­ri­ers that re­strict the tex­tile in­dus­try from opt­ing for this ap­proach.

Ac­cord­ing to Mylène, the first bar­rier is the ‘in­vi­o­lable’ pat­tern tem­plate sys­tem, from which most of the gar­ments are de­vel­oped. In­her­ited from made-tomea­sure tech­niques, these pat­terns can be con­sid­ered as part of the fash­ion legacy and it would be in­ap­pro­pri­ate to re­con­sider them. They have been used to de­velop CAD sys­tems adapted to those prac­tices.

The sec­ond bar­rier is the seg­men­ta­tion of roles. The de­sign is of­ten dis­patched in dif­fer­ent places, dif­fer­ent re­gions, and dif­fer­ent coun­tries which con­sid­er­ably al­ters com­mu­ni­ca­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion. Each per­son there­fore has a very limited vi­sion of the over­all de­sign process and al­most zero waste aware­ness. Even CAD sys­tem pro­duc­ers have de­vel­oped a spe­cific soft­ware for one spe­cific job only, which makes it very dif­fi­cult to im­ple­ment.

The third bar­rier where ev­ery­thing can be played out is ed­u­ca­tion. Fash­ion schools, lit­er­a­ture and me­dia un­con­di­tion­ally add to the wrong myths that the de­signer starts cul­ti­vat­ing. In­stead of mark­ing out zero waste de­sign in the ini­tial stages, the de­signer first takes the con­ven­tional route and much later tries to in­cor­po­rate the ZWD, which is a fu­tile prac­tice.

ZWD phi­los­o­phy uses the wide stitch­ing val­ues as it used to be ear­lier, not only to cover the en­tire sur­face of the fab­ric but also to make the gar­ment flex­i­ble and durable.

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