Designing for zero-waste

Winner Tess Whitfort's collection launches with The R Collective

How challenging is it to bring a zero-waste collection from concept to retail? With Redress Design Award 2018 Winner Tess Whitfort’s passion for zero-waste evident in her competition collection we weren’t surprised to see that her commercial collection with The R Collective went beyond rescuing textile waste through upcycling, but also used innovative zero-waste design techniques to showcase a truly a circular fashion system.

Officially launched this week at an influencers event in Hong Kong, the Australian sustainable fashion designer’s collection ‘Avoidance’ is now available on with select styles available in Asia’s leading luxury department store, Lane Crawford.

Following Tess’ journey with The R Collective team and their work in partnership with TAL Apparel, Episode 5 of the latest season of Redress' award-winning documentary series Frontline Fashion shows how her zero-waste pattern techniques achieved ground-breaking fabric utilisation during manufacturing, with several of her styles resulting in less than one percent fabric wastage. Compared with an industry norm of approximately 15 percent wastage this is an incredible achievement!

The Avoidance collection, comprised of 8 styles, is made from upcycled denim, crepe, wool and cotton, which were all rescued from leading luxury brands, mills and manufacturers, thereby avoiding the need to use virgin materials and minimising fashion’s negative environmental impacts.

“I wanted to incorporate a bit of attitude and punk edge into this collection, whilst keeping it timeless and within The R Collective’s aesthetic,” said Tess Whitfort, who has a Degree in Fashion Design from Australia’s Box Hill Institute. “There are many stereotypes around sustainable fashion and it is often portrayed as natural, feminine and wholesome. Instead, I create grungy streetwear so that badasses can wear ethical clothing too. Environmental issues are going to affect us all, so sustainability can’t just be for people who love the environment, it can’t be a niche, it needs to be for everyone.”

Explore the Avoidance collection here.

Watch the Frontline Fashion 3 series here.

The Redress Design Award 2019 is open for entries until 14 March 2019. Find out more here.