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Zero-Waste Fashion: The Most Effective Way to Achieve Sustainability in 2022

Globally, the fashion industry discards 40 million tonnes of textile waste on an annual basis — most of which is either sent to a landfill or incinerated. While its production consumes vast quantities of water, land and raw materials. The only way brands can realistically reduce their environmental impact in a way that can elicit any real change is by adopting the ‘zero-waste’ way of doing business. Ahead, we find out just what that entails and how ZAVI endorses it. 

Key Takeaways: What is zero-waste fashion?

Unlike the loaded ‘sustainable’ terminology, zero-waste encourages a more focused way of producing clothes. Contrary to achieving the comprehensive goal of sustainability that necessitates just about everything — right from switching to plant-based fabrics to abandoning single-use plastic in packaging — fashion brands that are ‘zero-waste’ have only one objective: to reduce or completely eradicate textile waste during every aspect of production. 

The State of Fashion 2022 report by McKinsey claims that textile production is more resource-depleting than many other sectors.

In the European Union alone, the textile industry happens to be the 4th biggest consumer of primary raw materials and water (right after the food, housing and transport sectors). Meanwhile, the industry’s reliance on problematic fossil fuel-based materials like polyester only adds to the challenge. 

At the present moment, less than 10% of the global textile market is composed of recycled materials — this is a challenge that can only be addressed at a grassroots level. 

How can fashion adopt zero-waste?

For a fashion brand, viewing their operations through the lens of zero-waste requires eliminating waste from the production of clothing. In general, brands could think about how they can best utilise yarn waste, or fabric offcuts from the pattern cutting stages, excess from overproduction, and how they can incorporate all of these elements into a circular model.

While eliminating textile waste at the design stages may be a good place to start, recycling any waste generated during the production stage can extend the overall shelf life of textiles and in turn divert them from heading to landfills in the process.

For ZAVI specifically, most of our contribution to zero-waste has been about cutting out waste during garment production and their associated design patterns so that we don’t have any waste when you cut them out. As a brand, we work with factories to digitally plot out patterns and constantly liaise with manufacturers and the design team on the most effective way to cut the patterns to ensure minimal waste during the production and sampling stages.

Moreover, we’ve integrated the zero-waste circular design model through our most recent Fall collection that features outerwear crafted from recycled fabrics. Verified by the Global Recycled Standard (GRS), these fibres were essentially sourced from pre-consumer sources like factory waste and re-spun back into yarn. Manufacturing these fibres uses a lot less water and energy compared to the production of virgin materials. 

Intrigued to know what they look like? Take a look at some of our recycled zero-waste pieces through the links below:

ZAVI Men’s Winter Outerwear

ZAVI Women’s Winter Outerwear

Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2024-02-28

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