Week 49 Subtraction Cutting

I recently stumbled upon a unique method of garment construction called 'subtraction cutting'.  Immediately I was fascinated by the concept as well as the results and could see the application in zero-waste design. Developed and taught by Julian Roberts, subtraction cutting approaches garment construction with a different perspective, playing with space and form, rather than paper and pattern. 

I have to thank my little boy for so graciously modelling my first attempt at a subtraction cutting dress. With one yard of fabric, I thought that a child's size dress would be a reasonable goal. This dress was created using a size 6 top pattern. In order to add some additional length in the front, I layered, like petals, the curves from the 'subtracted' material, thereby, also making the final garment zero-waste. 

My passion for design is renewed each time I come across another unique perspective, a design project, a fashion lab or someone questioning how we can approach design differently. 
Just this past week, Lululemon Lab hosted a speaker event, part of a platform series, that encouraged open dialogue about a personal uniform. Natalie Tillen, one of the featured speakers, has also explored the concept of zero-waste design and is currently undergoing a personal study of her wardrobe.  For 7 months she has limited her personal uniform to 15 items. 

"Concerned and curious about personal waste – both physical and social in relation to the value of material and time – I will place constraints on my own use of garments to gain perspective on the challenges and opportunities that surround the consumption/ use/ sustainability/ life cycle of clothing in present time and rethinking systems for future clothing."

Similarly, this past year, many others have taken the 100 mile diet and applied it to their wardrobe.  One year, one outfit has challenged individuals to create an outfit out of materials locally sourced. Not only has the process proven to have a steep learning curve, the lessons and experiences, as well as the connections have been timeless. 

With all this systems thinking, the unintentional result or goal may be that we need to retrain ourselves to think about how we dress and what we purchase. Understanding how we teach our children to buy less and wear what they have more often. 
Ironically the original inspiration that sparked my blog was a woman who had a gallery exhibition about the clothing that she had sewn for herself, everyday for a year. At the time the idea of wearing something different everyday was still common place. But this notion of never being caught in the same thing twice is quickly becoming socially unacceptable. 

Now as my year of explorations wrap up, the quest becomes to identify with what it is like to live with less. And if mom and dad are living with less, what do we communicate to our children about that process? What is that experience? As Natalie Tillen quickly discovered, she needed to create new language to describe just what that experience is. 

I am that I am. 


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