There is a lot of talk about minimising or even achieving zero-waste in the fashion and textile industries. The waste that is often referred to is the chemical waste, water waste and textile waste. But have you heard of the concept of design waste?
When a brand orders a series of styles, a designer or a group of hardworking individuals will work hard to create and design new patterns, new prints, new cuts and/or styles and then pitch them to said brand. For example, the brand may want to make 10 new pieces for the next season, yet the designer pitch 20 or more new styles and garments. What happens to the other ten that do not get picked and don’t ever get made? This is what is referred to as design waste; one could even go as far as to call it talent and creativity waste.
Now let’s make the rough calculations. With the model of fast fashion, there aren’t just four seasons to a year anymore. Big companies and brands roll out new styles and new clothes about every few weeks. All the pieces we see on the newly dressed mannequins in the shopfronts, may be derived from other clothes that did not make it to the production phase. This is a waste that people do not consider, which we believe should also be acknowledged. It is easy to overlook things that are not yet tangible.
With that being said, it can be – according to some designers – just part of the process. When you are creative, perhaps you have many wonderful ideas and many things you start with and build on, but in the end, the design doesn’t fulfill the very purpose it was meant for or does not correspond with what the purchaser or brand actually wants. And perhaps having their darlings killed is just part of the process, which will actually lead to only the best of best being realised and produced. The individual designers who put in so much creative energy and effort designing garments to be made, are probably the only ones affected by this wastefulness. Yet, we can probably agree that such a process is unfortunate.
The bottom line is, we believe that design waste can be minimised if more masses are in support of the revolutionising the fashion industry through the slow fashion movement.