ZERO is a business and product concept submitted for the 2017 Stanford X Republic Start-Up Idea Competition. Through this process, I prototyped and tested designs for zero-waste sports bras as a way to reduce waste created in the garment industry.
The global apparel industry produces more than 40 billion square meters of textile waster per year. Much of this waste is due to the cutting scraps created when cutting out patterns from larger pieces of fabric, as well as from trimmings and selvages. As a designer interested in fashion, yet influenced by the environmentally conscious atmosphere at Stanford, I was inspired to tackle this growing challenge in the garment industry.
One clear way to reduce the amount of scraps created is through zero-waste pattern making. Often times, patterns are laid out on a rectangle of fabric without minimizing the scraps created. In addition, established apparel brands has a difficult time switching to zero-waste pattern making because it may substantially alter their original designs.
Therefore, I set out to create a garment that put zero-waste pattern making at the forefront, rather than as an afterthought. I decided to focus on sports bras, because they require a smaller amount of fabric to begin with and would be attractive to a user group of 20-30 year old environmentally savvy adults. My first prototype is pictured on the right.
I placed second in the competition and had the opportunity to present to a jury of VCs and representatives from Republic, a start-up fundraising platform. I also reached out to a preliminary set of manufacturers to determine the feasibility and cost of producing zero-waste garments at a large scale, and hope to continue working on this concept in the future.