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Fashion collection inspired by zero waste design

22 November, 2018

An Aggression Take on Zero Waste - is fashion student Courtney Cansdale’s mission and the name of her nine-piece clothing collection for Ara’s annual runway show PITCH, on Saturday 24 November.

Cansdale admits she quickly became ‘obsessed’ with zero waste design after being exposed to it in the second year of her Bachelor of Design (Fashion Technology and Design).

“This year we did subtraction cutting. It’s a pattern making technique, which can reduce waste to 1%, but personally I didn’t like that technique at first. Then we did an industry project with Macpac and I stumbled onto zero waste there,” she says.

“Zero waste is kind of like a puzzle and it involves being able to figure out mathematically how you’re going to use the fabric. I just love the sustainable, recyclable aspects of it.”

Cansdale’s research on zero waste fashion led her to three big names who served as her inspiration- one of whom is Julian Roberts the man to invent subtraction cutting.

“I also learnt about Holly McQuillan, a Massey Lecturer who actually teaches zero waste and she’s got some beautiful collections that I’ve been able to take inspiration from. Then there is another guy called Timo Rissanen, who does beautiful jigsaw cut pattern techniques, which is a big thing I’ve tried to do.”

Throughout manufacture, Cansdale has salvaged any excess fabric aside to reuse, although there hasn’t been much.

“There’s been no off cuts… but from when I’ve had to straighten up and cut a little strip off, I’ve got two small bags of fabric pieces. So I’ve kept all those bits to the side because I’m pretty sure I’m going to be doing some accessories with them to make sure there has been no waste.”

Weaving another one of her passions into her work Cansdale’s collection pays homage to Grecian vase art, using earthy colours and prints with ancient influences.

“I love classics to death,” Cansdale says. “I did it at high school and it was originally what I wanted to do at university. But I kept on coming back to fashion and wanting to get into the industry.”

Admitting that she has a wide variety of interests, Cansdale can see her future taking a few different paths. “My first aim is to definitely get a job in the industry; I’d like to have money again! But in terms of an ambition or big goal down the track I’d like to work in costume design because I love history and storytelling and I have so much fun when I’m putting a narrative into a piece of clothing. Also being a garment maker, a pattern maker, or a lecturer for zero waste at Massey University, would all be amazing roles to go into.”

In the meantime, Cansdale’s energy is consumed with preparing her creations for the catwalk, where they will be on display alongside the work of 43 other Ara fashion students.

“When you’re doing your own work here you can get so lost in it that you don’t really get much of a chance to see everyonelse’s work. So I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s collections up on the runway as well as my own of course!”