ZWDC's first collective course

This first course developed by the collective is about redefining your attitudes and behaviours and introducing you to the wonderful worldwide zero waste community. The course is designed for those who are interested in Zero Waste Design, but don’t know where to start. It has been developed as an introduction to the concepts and context of zero waste design to meet a current gap in design education and to invite you into a community of like-minded people who want to change the world of fashion with Zero Waste Design. Collaboration and collective action is key to a more sustainable future and we hope this course facilitates future changemakers to come together for this purpose.

Introduction to ZWDC e-Learning Platform

What's Included

Shifting Mindsets: From Conventional to Zero Waste Design is the first e-learning course from Zero Waste Design Collective. This course has been developed as an introduction to the concepts and context of zero waste design.

After taking this course our goal is for you to understand everything you need to know about ZWD before starting to make and design ZW garments.

Course Objectives

  • What is Zero Waste Design?

    You will learn what zero waste design is, the main principles of zero waste design and why it’s important. You will understand the important approaches to zero waste design which involve reducing fabric consumption and fabric waste.

  • Community

    You will learn about the ZWDC and connect with a community of like-minded people. You will get to know your instructors and get acquainted with their work.

  • Terminology + Myths Busting

    You will learn key terminology and be able to explain to others why ZWD is needed for the future of fashion to be sustainable. You will understand the true meaning behind the myths surrounding the topic.

  • Design Voice

    You’ll be able to apply everything you’ve learned to developing your own unique ZWD voice, deciding what path to choose for yourself in the next chapter of your ZWD journey.

  • Practice Exercises

    You’ll create zero waste tessellations and make a ZW garment maquette to understand the basic principles of ZW making and design.

  • Zero Waste Analysis

    You’ll have the analytical skills to identify zero waste and minimal waste patterns next to conventional patterns and you’ll be able to identify potential ways you can use this approach in your own creative practice.

Your Instructors

From left to right: Cassandra Belanger is a Garment Making Educator and Founder of The Stitchery Studio; Mylène L'Orguilloux is an industry consultant, 3D designer, ZW pattern maker and founder of MILAN AV-JC; Holly McQuillan is a Ph.D Assistant Professor on Multimorphic Textile Systems in Materialising Futures, Researcher, Designer, Writer and Educator and co-author of Zero Waste Fashion Design; Danielle Elsener is a ZW designer, industry consultant, 3D Designer, and Founder of Decode MFG

Course Curriculum

  • 1

    1/ Welcome to the course!

    • About this course

    • Starting your journey

    • How to use this course

    • Ground rules

    • Zero Waste Design Terminology

  • 2

    2/ ZWD Myth Busting

    • Zero Waste Design Myth Busting

    • Zero Waste Design = Upcycling

    • Zero Waste design is impossible

    • Zero Waste fashions are boxy and volumious

    • Zero Waste Design uses more fabric than conventional patterns

    • It's impossible to make fitted Zero Waste designs

    • Zero Waste patterns are too complicated

    • Bust a myth

  • 3

    3/ Context

    • Welcome to this chapter

    • The impact of fashion industry

    • Post consumer / Environmental context for industry

    • Pre-consumer / Environmental context for industry

    • Environmental context for home sewing

    • Organisational Context

    • Quiz Introduction

    • Choose the Best Design Option

    • Quiz Conclusions

  • 4

    4/ What is Zero Waste Design

    • Design Process and Roles

    • Principles of ZWD

    • Fabric Considerations and Consumption

    • ZWD VS MWD

    • Activity: From Conventional to ZWD

  • 5

    5/ Opportunities of ZWD

    • Creative opportunities

    • Design for Durability + Disassembly

    • Revaluing Skills

    • Danielle's Design Voice

    • Holly's Design Voice

    • Mylene's Design Voice

    • Cassandra's Design Voice

    • Develop Your Own ZWD Voice

  • 6

    6/ Tessellation Exploration

    • Introduction to Tessellation

    • Historical and Contemporary Examples

    • Activity: Abstract Tessellation

    • Activity: Introduction to Applied Tessellation

    • A-Line Skirt

    • Straight Sleeves

    • Fitted Sleeves

  • 7

    7/ Questions & Answers

    • 1. Is the grainline affected by rotating pattern pieces?

    • 2. Do trimming and binding count towards a garments zero waste?

    • 3. Do you need training in regular pattern making before attempting a zero waste pattern?

    • 4. Is it cheating to use fabric scraps as applique?

    • 5. When using a printed pattern should I cut through the fabric and paper?

    • 6. What if the fabric width required for a ZW pattern doesn't match my fabric width?

    • 7. Is it okay if grading creates different adaptations for different sizes?

    • 8. How do I get started?

    • Conclusions

    • What's next?


Timo Rissanen

Associate Professor, Fashion and Textiles at University of Technology Sydney and Co-Author of Zero Waste Fashion Design

The community of fashion makers that Holly and the others in the collective have built is an amazing global network and I’m excited to hear about the new learning initiative by the collective. I hope that our collective wisdom about zero waste fashion design continues to expand and diversify.

Fausto Esparza

Minimal Waste Design Project Leader at Decathlon International

I recommend learning from ZWD Collective because, today this know-how does not exist anywhere else in the world. The expertise of their co-founders is at the top level of what we can find in the apparel industry.

Lydia Morrow

What Lydia Made

In the past two years ZWDC have created an incredible space for people from so many different skill levels and backgrounds, they’re creating access to much needed ZWD resources, support, and building an active community. Their first eLearning course kind of feels like just the start of what they can bring to designers and makers who are interested in sustainability but don’t have the resources.