I want to talk about ways to reduce waste in a typical fashion design office/studio. I have some ideas, but I would love this to jumpstart a discussion to brainstorm even more ideas.
–here’s the most green thing a designer can do: make quality items. pick solid materials. perfect your patterns. sew them right.* make things people will buy and wear and keep and wear again and again instead of tossing them into landfills because it was cheap swill that didn’t last two parties.
–fitting notes can be input directly into your spec file on a laptop or a computer in the same room as the fitting instead of printing out multiple copies of multiple page spec packs (this is also a huge timesaver).
–keep scraps from samples for embellishment sew-outs (for example, if you continue to embroider on denim as part of your line’s signature, you can take large** denim scraps to your embroiderer and ask them to use them for your sew-outs).
–consider a password-protected internal blog (instead of xeroxing ten copies of that really cool movie set) to share ideas and images with coworkers.
–leftover scraps (fabrics, random buttons, trims you’ll never use, leftover discontinued items you can’t source anymore) can go to places like Scrap SF, or directly donated to camps and schools for arts and crafts classes (you can check for possible tax breaks on this).
–fabric scraps can be used as rags for cleaning the studio and office (velvet wipes dust beautifully–I used to dust with old Crown Royal bags when my dad owned a bar)
–scraps can also be wrapped around handles of metal tools for easier use.
Sales & Marketing:
–scraps can be used for swatchcards/books if you’re running the same fabric the next season (usually basics like white cotton jersey), or cut your swatches from the scraps off your sample cuts.
–people are lazy and will recycle more if it’s convenient. keep recycling bins near the important spots like near the printer, the copy machine, etc.
–the obvious: recycled paper goods, soy-based ink, using both sides of the paper, turn things off when not using them for a while.
–all internal communication done via email or IM. then you can verify that yes, they got the memo, without giving them three copies.
—green electronic waste management for old monitors, printers, cartridges, etc.
–consider donating your old, but still working cell phone to a worthy cause.
–I know a large insurance company that keeps all their records as PDF files. They’re backed up on an external server and automatically deleted as a file dates past seven years.
–use recycled/reused cardboard as packing material instead of styrofoam peanuts.
–you can also use plastic air packs (about the size of a small foot), made of recycled and recyclable plastic, and people can reuse them over and over again until they get punctured (they’re fairly durable).
–stock your kitchen for real dishes and flatware for your employees instead of using disposables.
–use low-emission solutions, solvents, cleaners, etc.
–buy quality goods, so you’re not replacing your “bargain” over and over again
So, what ideas do you have?
*I’m not talking about couture techniques or even necessarily heirloom-worthy. Just well made things that last a good while. And apparently Kathleen demands pockets in her pants and quite frankly, so do I.
**large as in big enough for the embroidery machine to be able to hold onto the fabric–check with your embellisher