When I was studying pattern making, I was inspired by a story my professor shared with the class about the origin of the slim cut Italian suits that first came into mode during the second world war. These classic designs were instigated by fabric shortages in a war weary Europe. With fine woolens at a premium, tailors would compete to see who could produce a jacket from the least amount of fabric. The elegant, slim fitting, narrow lapel jackets of the era were born of a necessity that became fashionable.
Making the best use of yardage has always been part of my design process. Part of my hope is that the thoughtful design of the kitchen garden series will raise awareness around textile use and fabric shortages. An average of 15% of fabric ends up on the cutting room floor in most factories and eventually winds up in landfills. Fabric and clothing waste packed together tightly along with other waste materials, like plastic and food waste, cannot decompose properly and will produce methane and carbon dioxide, two powerful greenhouse gases held to be responsible for climate change.
In my business, reducing textile waste is the one of the factors that urgently calls to me to design carefully. Making the most of the raw materials I love like linen and reclaimed natural fibers galvanizes my work and provides me with a heady design challenge that stretches my creative mind. For example, our favorite French market bag sadly makes poor use of fabric. While the French market bag is one of my favorite designs, it has an odd shaped pattern that leaves an awkward remnant equaling 30% potential waste. As a classy, sturdy, and light weight design with elegant diagonals, it perfectly exemplifies the kitchen garden series aesthetic. Puzzling over fabric waste reduction on the French market bag has happily led me to another favorite design, our lunch bag.The lunch bag deftly uses irregular diagonal cuts from the market bag fabric to complete its lightweight, sturdy look. Together this matched pair strives to reduce waste through attentive design.
Whether it’s a narrow lapel or a great pair of kitchen garden series bags, good design combines form and function, respects materials, and is naturally a vital part of helping the planet by reducing waste.