With 40 per cent of raw material ending up as waste in clothing factories, and 15 per cent from the cutting room’s floor alone, strenuous effort is called for to eradicate the alarming volume of pre-consumer waste in fashion. Committed to a complete elimination of fabric waste, Tonlé and Study New York are two sustainable apparel labels that honour their devotion to zero-waste fashion.
1. Tonlé: A second chance for scrap fabrics
The Mayan Long Vest, hand woven from upcycled yarn and dyed with natural, non-toxic dyes.
They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and it cannot be more fitting for the staff at Tonlé. As frequent visitors to the remnant markets of Cambodia, they scavenge through heaps of scrap cuts discarded by clothing factories and transform the castoffs into garments.
While larger fabrics are cut into pattern pieces, smaller strips are strategically cut, woven into yarn, and hand-knitted into upcycled fabrics. Even the tiniest scraps are taken care of—they are mixed with recycled paper and sticky rice and made into clothing tags.
Take a look at how Rachel Faller, founder of Tonlé, made zero-waste fashion a reality:
Committed to minimising their environmental impact, each product is crafted by hand entirely without any machinery or the use of electricity. In soft and versatile colours, the collection is often decorated with hand-painted prints. The results of the laborious process are one-of-a-kind pieces with a flare of playfulness.
2. Study New York: Bringing back the old ways
Let’s face it: zero-waste pattern cutting is no easy feat. Interlocked patterning, subtraction cutting, and hollow construction requires meticulous calculations and elaborate planning. Though often used historically to conserve fabric, old-fashion pattern making has long been neglected by chain fashion corporates as it’s expensive and time-consuming.
Study New York is committed to zero-waste cutting techniques to minimise the production of scrap fabric. Its commitment to reduce waste is also coupled with the use of long-life textiles. When scraps are inevitable, the team work with businesses that repurpose the scraps into new fabric and recycle the rest.
Think not for a second that repurposed fabric means crude and dull-looking craftwork! Refreshing and sleek, Study New York’s collection carries an earthy tone with a note of modern minimalism.
Written By: Carol Beber