3. Circular Fashion#


“We still educate our young people to become catwalk designers; unique individuals,
whereas this society is now about exchange and the new economy
and working together in teams and groups,
which happens in every other discipline, yet not in fashion”
– Li Edlekoort, Dutch trend forecaster

Disclosure: I was trying not to laugh in this photo, sorry for the serious face


from Fabricademy website:

“Design and fabricate a modular reconfigurable system or seamless garment”
“Upload your open source file to OS Circular”

A. References#

I was inspired by traditional Hawaiian weaving because of the original fabric I found in Fab Lab - pina textile (seen in the background of above photo).

Although I did not end up using the pina fabric for my final garment (I discovered it was simply too thick and bulky for the desired weave effect), it sparked me to think of Hawaiian weaving.

The basic weave of my garment could be taken from any cultural reference of weaving. That it to say, the style of weaving I chose is not specific to traditional Hawaiian weaving. It is a simple basket weave. I’m pretty sure I did it in grade 2.

But weaving connects me to my personal experiences with Hawaii, specifically Hawaiian culture. I intentionally did not replicate a tradtional Hawaiian weaving method as to respect the culture and not culturally appropriate. Any culture should only ever be a source of admiration and inspiration for a designer. Unless of course, you belong to that culture.

Clockwise from top left| traditional Hawaiian dance competition (via Honolulu Star Advertiser) | pineapples getting rinsed at a Maui pineapple plantation (via Tastemade) | woven dress inspiration (via Pinterest) | traditional weaving (via Moon Travel Guides) | Hawaiian women surfing (via Nat Geo) | background image is traditional handmade quilt (via WeBeTiki)

Hawaii, specifically Maui, is a special place for me. I was lucky enough to go on family vacations to Maui. We always stayed at Ka’anapali Beach Hotel. This hotel is more than than an anomoly on the beach strip, it’s a straight up miracle. How this local, small scale resort has survived all these years amongst multi-billion dollar luxury resorts, remains a mystery. Ka’anapali Beach Hotel is a long running family business (or at least it was when I was there) on a mission to show guests authentic Hawaii.

The hotel offers awesome Hawaiian workshops for guests, and I have very fond memories of locals teaching my sister and I how to thread a flower lei, strum a uke, and weave bookmarks from palm leaves.

Today, as an adult, I realize the situation in Hawaii is complex. The legacy of colonization continues, as Indigenous people continue to fight for sovereignty and cultural vitality amongst heavy commercialization of their traditional lands. I stand in solidarity with native Hawaiians. I respect their vibrant culture. In comparison to other Indigenous groups around the world, native Hawaiians (for the moment and all things considered) are still managing to preserve their culture beautifully.

What’s more, Hawaiian people still continue to share their traditions with outsiders, like they did for my sister and I as little girls. The Ka’anapali family has no idea how much of a lasting impression they made on me. I am grateful for their welcoming spirit of aloha.

B. Design Process#

Paper prototype | Design sketches

Step 1: Translate paper sketches into Rhino#

Step 2: Interlocking system#

Step 3: Laser cut a prototype#

Since time permitted, I was able to design a weave pattern on the back of the garment as well.

Creating a weave pattern on the back proved to be challenging and required readjusting the front pattern as well.

Step 4: Adjust pattern in Rhino#

Back design:
- Draw intersecting lines, 3mm wide - Remove old interlocking systems
- Remove old necklines and backlines
- Create a set of notches to interlock the weaving along the shoulder with the weaving along the back
- Mirror the one side and make the notches interlock the opposite way

Front design:
- Make stripes on a steeper angle so as to eliminate gap in the neckline
- Change interlocking on the bottom from triangles to squares
- Remove old interlocking systems on the shoulder and sides

Step 5: Final pattern#

Step 6: Prototype 2#

As a result of the above design changes, I was able to decrease waste from 4 pattern pieces to just 2.

Also, now the garment can be worn two ways.

Garment can be worn two ways

Step 7: Final garment#


C. Reflections on Circular Fashion assignment#

Sustainability & Design Criteria#

Lecture reflections#

“Opensourcing Fashion System” and “Modular Fashion”
Presented by Zoe Romano, Fabricademy Instructor
Lecture 3

“Open Source Fashion” highlights:

“Modular Fashion” highlights:

Playful tesselation designs by Samuel Kerr

Galya Rosenfeld | Mary Ann Williams

Bonus Information#