Capitalizing on #zerowaste - calling a garment zero waste when it isn't

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As a zero waste apparel designer I feel inclined to hold myself up to the highest standards one can with pattern cutting. It is my belief that what us zero waste designers are doing is truly altering the fashion industry and changing the course of both design and the world. I can get on my high horse unintentionally however, judging people who I believe could be doing more who aren't or whom I don't think are doing enough. I know that any move forward is progress, but I want it to go faster.

One thing I struggle with is zero waste designers who end up repurposing their scraps from a "zero waste pattern" they made into something else. Can that truly be considered a zero waste garment? It is technically, because nothing is going in the landfill, but in my mind it does not hold the same integrity as a garment that has had every detail poured over and redone a thousand and one times to get it perfect. The one garment you purchase from a designer which does not have every single piece of a fabric included in it has something is missing. How can you be guaranteed that the excess from your garment is actually being used?

There is no accountability other than a promise and there is no way to check up on that. In a truly zero waste garment you should be able to see where every single inch has been placed and have confidence in the integrity of your garment. My focus has been tailored to start with fabric from the beginning of its life and make sure it is all put to use. My version of zero waste solves a problem this way, and someone who makes a garment, labels it as zero waste when it isn't, promotes it, and ships it off is taking the easy road out. They are using the power of the zero waste verbiage to be on trend. This, however, is just my version of the story.

Zero waste is a huge topic that spans many versions of design and execution. Designers that are starting with scraps is a whole other story because they are repurposing things that would already be going into a landfill. Any progression in this realm is amazing! Take for example Zero Waste Daniel and Vestement , some of my favorite designers currently doing this. Daniel has created a whole platform around creating reroll fabric from scraps from factory floors to create new garments, and Vestement holds "Design your own up cycled scarf" events to use scraps from their product and allow anyone to come see the process and get their hands dirty. I encourage and try to use this up cycling practice this as whenever possible.

What are your thoughts on this matter? Is any version of a zero waste garment okay or should there be a clarification in the description if it's being sold? Can there be any way of holding designers accountable? SHould I be calling my process something differnet? I would love to know how you feel about it. I wanted to keep a post like this brief, but if you'd like more content and conversation on the topic, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me a message.