Sustainability in fashion designing has been discussed and debated much. Eco-friendly designing techniques are the next sure step the industry should take.

In the past, the industry has faced intense criticism about its environmental footprint, where many brands have established their own sustainability commitments and strategies. More recently, sustainability leaders in the fashion industry have begun have begun moving beyond this and proactively addressing environmental concerns at the beginning of the value chain — when garments are designed.  A number of techniques can be adopted to design products with a low environmental impact and a positive social purpose.

Zero-waste pattern cutting

It has been estimated that 15% of textiles intended for clothing ends up on the cutting room floor. Why waste precious resources?  The zero-waste approach means you need to know your textile dimensions to be able to garment. Likewise, you need to know your design dimensions to source your textile. You will need to carefully plan how to use pieces of textile, by arranging pattern pieces like a jigsaw puzzle. The best way to lay out pattern pieces on fabric is to follow pattern directions for layout options. Alternatively, you can lay your patterns in a number of ways to make the most of the fabric available from upside down, backwards and diagonally. You can also design directly by draping the entire piece of textile on the body or body form.

Minimal seam construction

This technique reduces the number of seams required to sew a garment together. It makes manufacturing quicker, saves materials, allows the garment to have greater freedom of movement, and ensures better comfort for the wearer. Seamless garments are preferred for their comfort, snug-fitting, durability, and aesthetic characteristics. Seamless technology has wider application in various areas such as upholstery, textiles across automotive, industrial, sports, and medical fields and intimate apparel, apart from general apparel.

Some companies, like The North Face, an American outdoor recreation products company, are investing in technology that can fuse seams together, meaning no sewing is required. The Fuse Uno, a mountaineering jacket from the company, is made from just one piece of material. 


In this approach, you transform by-products, waste or disused materials or products into something new of better quality. By reusing materials that already exist, you are saving energy, water, chemicals and other resources.

Zass Designs creates gorgeous jewellery from overlooked materials. Little Grey Line uses old men’s work shirts and remakes them into adorable dresses for little girls. Denim Remnants is into creating chic handbags made from plastic bags.

One can source deadstock fabric from places like Queen Of Raw, Amothreads, Offsetwarehouse, Measurefabric, Blackbirdfabrics, Fabcycle, Metermeter, and Thefabricstoreonline. 

Some factories in Karnataka that work with waste fabric and secondhand garment are Cornucopia Concepts Pvt. Ltd, The Upcycle Co and Rimagined.

Design for disassembly (Dfd)

Design your product in a way where it can easily be taken apart at the end of its life, so that components can be repaired, reused or recycled. This will mean the product will have to be easy to assemble and could likely require fewer materials — meaning it could help save costs and your product’s environmental footprint. 


The strategy means designing products for multiple purposes. In fashion, you might design a garment that could be worn multiple ways or something that is reversible.

Design for longevity

Experts from the clothing industry have found four fundamental areas where changed design practices can help ensure the longevity of the items. 

Size and fit – Clothes must be adjusted to allow for reasonable variations in an in an individual’s shape.

Fabric quality – Higher quality fabrics are more likely to withstand wear and tear over a prolonged period.

Colours and styles – ‘Classic’ or timeless styles and colours are less likely to go out of fashion. 

Care – Appropriate advice on care and opportunities for re-use and recycling must be given with the product. 

Craft preservation

Incorporate age-old, ancestral craft techniques into modern designs for preservation of the craft. The process also includes understanding the global market, promotional strategies and how trade fairs work. Not to forget, increase interaction with the consumers. 

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