In August 2010, we published a story about Parsons The New School For Design’s first course in zero waste – a first in the world. Watched closely at key junctures throughout the design process by Loomstate co-founder/designer, Scott Mackinkay Hahn, and taught by Timo Rissanen, a Finnish designer, the duo hoped to instill in students the principle that zero waste is possible and can be achieved – and that the end product can be a thing of beauty. They launched the class with that iconic American wardrobe staple, a pair of jeans.
Students had a big carrot in front of them, knowing that at the end of the course, the winning design would be chosen and the student behind it would have the opportunity to intern with the Loomstate production team in their California or New York factory. The design would then be sold at Barneys in New York.
The time is here! An exhibition of all the students’ denim fashions will be on view at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons, February 8-23, 2011. The winning look will be revealed at the opening reception.
Designer news portal Dexigner reports: “Through muslin prototypes, garment patterns, video and photography, the exhibition will provide visitors with a behind-the-scenes look at this cutting-edge approach to sustainable design, which is the focus of a new course of study at Parsons.”
Zero-Waste Fashion is one of a number of sustainable design initiatives in the School of Fashion at Parsons. While this intro to zero waste was a great start, Dexigner says Parsons is looking forward to spring with fashion design students examining ways of extending the life-cycle of a garment. Additionally, fashion marketing and communications design and technology students will collaborate with the advertising agency, Droga 5 (the agency behind the “Great Schlep” campaign of the last presidential election), to research sustainable care practices and develop a global branding campaign called “Wash Cold.”
Meanwhile, those in the BFA Fashion Design program are teaming up with students across Parsons in the Solar Decathlon, a biannual global competition to design and build a solar-powered home, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Parsons students will be designing a sustainable wardrobe for inhabitants of the home, which takes into account energy use and consumption.