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This is a time when we're all thinking about our impact on the earth and what we can do as individuals to reduce our waste. As a designer it's something I do consider while designing my garments. The truth is that pre-consumer "almost" zero-waste fashion is really only attainable with garments that are very simplified and made from very boxy shapes. A classic example of a zero waste garment is the traditional Kimono. But when a garment is cut to fit our womanly curves, square and boxy shapes are not ideal. Our new Scrunch Scarf is a good example of "almost" zero waste as the pattern pieces are rectangular and I purposely chose widths to fit the fabric. If you look at the bottom of the image below, you can see the "efficiency" is 98.3% of the fabric.
Still as a small batch designer with a very hands on approach I'm able to mitigate my use of fabric during production. I do consider how a sleeve is cut for example and how the fabric is utilitzed in the production process. My approach is quite unique as I often modify the designs as the pattern is being made. I sketch an idea, start making the pattern and make adjustments to the design as I go. As a last step It's not unusual for me to do a mock lay out the marker (the pattern pieces of the garment laid out single layer for cutting of the fabric) to see how well the design makes use of the fabric.
Once the garment is ready to go into production a cut lay out of the pattern pieces is made (a production marker) using the Optitex CAD system. The use of the fabric is noted during this process. What I'd consider an unacceptable use of the fabric would be a marker that utilizes only 70% or less of the available space. Trust me when I tell you this would not be an uncommon use of fabric in the fashion industry. (30% waste) Commonly a style like a pant or a tunic would use 75% - 80% of the fabric. Anything above 80% is considered excellent. Kind of surprising right? This is the reality in the garment industry. The marker below is an example of how I put parts from 2 garments together to get a better yield. By doing so I was able to use 84.1% of the fabric. Without making this change the use of the fabric was way down at about 67%.
We do whatever we can at this stage of production to minimize this waste. Our markers regularity use 82% - 87% of the fabric. And truthfully that's about as good as it gets. The only way to improve that would be an example like a shirt that has many small parts like cuffs, collar and tabs to fill up the spaces.
While I know this is not something the average consumer ever considers when purchasing a garment, I wanted to share some of the thoughtful processes that go into making a Diane Kennedy garment.
It’s often true that a woman in her 50s can start to feel invisible to society. If you're in my age group, I suspect this thought has at least crossed your mind. I like myself and the way I look, and it can be sobering to think that others may not be noticing.
The most important thing for us to remember is that we’re gorgeous, accomplished women – we need to be proud of each step that’s brought us to now. Our beautiful bodies have carried us through every joy and challenge, and we need to honour and accept them. Look inside and remind yourself that what others see can never be as important as how we feel about ourselves.
Build Your Style
That being said, there’s no shame in thinking about how you present yourself. Part of loving your body is learning how to dress it, and discovering your personal style is a lifetime journey. Knowing what looks best on your frame and shape can make shopping much more fun. What makes you feel good and attractive? Which cuts and fabrics are most comfortable for you? Which colours brighten your day and your outlook?
Personally, I’m coming into an era of no holding back. I am woman – hear me roar! I can rock a poncho! I can and will wear more than one colour at once (probably not including black)!
Follow your inspiration, and forget about playing it safe. Choose every outfit by imagining the most lovely, brilliant, authentic version of yourself. Beauty has nothing to with numbers or calendars or birthdays – it’s about letting your inner goddess shine!
In this blog, our own Barb Wilkins shares the story of how she found our newest Diane Kennedy model.
Gia Holman has been teaching lyrical jazz and contemporary dance, from beginner to professional levels, for nearly forty-five years. These days, she focuses on providing classes for other "mature” dancers who are committed to continuing their training and celebrating their creative spirits for as long as possible.
When I first met Gia, she spoke to me like she knew me. I thought maybe I had forgotten our first meeting, but she was so charming and lovely and I went with it! The next time I saw Gia, she confessed that she thought I was someone else she knew. Basically, we were friends from the start.
By virtue of having similar taste in music, we started running into each other often. I found out that Gia had been a professional dancer and dance teacher her whole life. I was transfixed when she posted photos of herself as a young 20-something, just on the verge of heading to New York to study dance. I then found out Gia is still dancing and teaching adults in the semi-retired phase of her life, which was completely inspiring.
Cut to a work meeting discussing the new Diane Kennedy collection: we spoke about wanting to see the clothes worn by a confident, mature woman who could really move. Gia came to mind right away. I contacted her and asked her if she was interested, and she was excited to try modelling for the first time. The date was set.
Gia admitted to being shy, especially around cameras. I chose some music by a mutual friend of ours, and once the blues started streaming out of the stereo and the camera started clicking, Gia transformed.
She didn’t seem shy at all!
I found it fascinating to see Gia move. It was thrilling to see how well she knew her own body – how it moved and created shapes and lines.
"Lyrical dance is about line, form, and flow of movement –
I find all three elements in Diane's designs.
They are a delight to wear."
~ Gia Holman
P.S. Come see Gia's outfits in person at our Studio Shop this weekend:
- Friday, January 25, 2pm-7 pm
- Saturday, January 26, 11am-5pm
- 1635 Powell Street, Vancouver, BC
Free parking is available right out front or in the parking lot beside The Flag Shop.