An Investigation of the Theory and Practice of Zero-Waste Fashion Design for the Luxury Sector incorporating a Circular Design model

  • Debbie Moorhouse

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Sustainability is a term used widely within the current fashion system, at times to give a positive appearance without necessarily giving any real depth to the meaning. As media attention highlights the global climate change crisis which has become part of every strand of our lives, governments and organisations are defining the need to move towards the goal of zero-waste in all aspects of production. The fast-changing landscape of the fashion industry as it moves away from a linear system of production and consumption and disposal, now needs to consider product life cycle, including end of life, responsible user centred design, and environmental and social impact.

The purpose of this study is to highlight the possibilities of producing clothing with zero waste at manufacture level but also to be responsible for the reuse of these material resources through further loops in the cycle before ultimate end of life. To achieve this participant wearer trials were undertaken to gain feedback through diary entries and semi structured interviews at each stage. A pilot study was first approached to test the design and wearability of the garments and then a participant wearer trial was undertaken over a period to test the rigour of the selected garments through the lived experience.

The key findings of this study are that it is possible to design garments in a way that considers design for disassembly and reassembly through a zero-waste pattern cutting method which allows more scope for reuse into multiple future designs. The trial participants responded to the circular design system accepting reused fabric as ‘new’ and were often found to be more responsive to reused fabric rather than using virgin materials forming an emotional attachment.

The study leads the way for further research into the possibilities of achieving zero-waste within the whole fashion and textile cycle.
Date of Award7 Jul 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRina Arya (Main Supervisor) & Parikshit Goswami (Co-Supervisor)

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