How often does this happen to you: you buy a plethora of, say, sweaters in the winter and then when the summer heat rolls around you find yourself throwing out your “gently used” clothing. Look through your closet, do you see items you bought months, or even years ago, unworn with the tags still on? Postproduction waste is generated when garments themselves are discarded, through the disposal of unsold stock, unworn purchases or items that are no longer wanted – the average consumer only uses a mere 30% of the garments in their wardrobe.
You might be shocked to learn that the fashion and textile industry is the second largest generator of our world’s pollution. Although fashion is a big offender, a shift to zero-waste has gained more traction within the past decade. In simple terms, the goal of zero waste is to reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills. The issue of excessive waste is pervasive in today’s mass producing society. There are many people who are very passionate about this issue, and one of those people is Holly McQuillan.
If you’re not familiar with McQuillan’s work, you should be. She focuses on more efficient production in the pattern making process and encourages a better, more recyclable, approach to designing clothing with minimal amount of waste. February 6th marked the start of her whistle-stop tour of the US, UK and Sweden.
One of the first stops on her tour brings Holly right here to San Francisco. Following a two-day workshop on February 8th and 9th, McQuillan will hold a presentation at the de Young museum, courtesy of the Textile Arts Council. The exhibition, entitled “Make/Use,” explores the idea of a world where people not only consider the visual aesthetic of the clothes but also the way they are used and the waste produced by their creation. McQuillan uses what she has learned about the design process alongside her passion to decrease the fashion industry’s environmental footprint.
The events being held over the next few days include a lecture and signing of “Zero Waste Fashion Design” a book co-written by McQuillan, as well as a hands-on workshop. A basic knowledge of sewing and pattern making is necessary for attendees. Be sure to check out these events!