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2021 ZWDO Celebrations: Looking Back to Move Forward

Dear Community,

As ZWDO Collective wrapped up for 2021 we looked back to help us move forward. In this blog we are sharing key milestones and achievements from throughout the year, and want you to know how grateful we are for all your support since our launch in August 2020!

Community is at the core of ZWDO, and the international zero waste design community has given us the strength to keep going when times have been tough, and fuelled our belief that when genuinely kind and caring people come together, any change is possible.

We hope you'll join us in celebrating the wins we have made together in 2021, including podcast fame, experimental workshops, industry partnerships, the first ZWDO zero waste pattern release, our 1st birthday, and ZWDO in-person workshops!


🏆 January: Inspiring Content and Educational Triumphs!

In January we upped our efforts to create inspiring, informative, and educational content for our social media channels to raise more awareness and strengthen the zero waste community. Working with our Digital Marketing Assistant Mairi has allowed us (Cass, Mylène, Holly and Danielle) to focus on developing our Community Calls, upcoming workshops and the eLearning platform. Explore the educational content on Instagram. Our Co founder Holly McQuillan also finished her PhD titled Zero Waste Systems Thinking, Multimorphic Textile Forms from the Swedish School of Textiles. We're very proud of her accomplishments!

🎙️ February: Our First Podcast Feature

In February, ZWDO Co-founders Holly and Cassandra featured on the Common Threads podcast exploring how we can design waste out of the fashion system, and shared recommendations for home sewers on how to reduce or eliminate waste in the making process. Listen to the episode.

🤯 March: Community Call, Experimental Workshop, Industry Collab, and Registering as a Not-for-profit!

In March we hosted our first Community Call of 2021 specifically for Home Sewers, as well as the first workshop of the year led by ZWDO Co-founder Danielle: an experimental workshop on creative design thinking, focusing on a newly developed 15% theory and methodologies for zero waste design (ZWD). Purchase lifetime access to the recording for €20.

Also in March, we officially registered ZWDO as a not-for-profit organisation, opening us up to more opportunities so that we could continue to create educational ZWD resources and experiences for the community. This was a huge stepping stone to make our community based e-learning platform dream come true, and made our ambitious vision feel just that little bit closer!

From March to December, the ZWDO team brought together ideas at regular meetings with KIMJALY (yoga brand from Decathlon) to help them optimise three of their products. This project ended in December but we continue to collaborate with Decathlon to support them with the implementation of zero waste design at industry scale - an important piece of the zero waste puzzle for the fashion industry.

🤝 April: Partnering With The Or Foundation

In April we partnered with The Or Foundation for their ‘Too Much Not Enough’ raffle and supported their crucial work on the ground in Accra, catalysing a Justice-led Circular Fashion Economy that prioritises the prosperity of Ghanaians. Learn more about The Or Foundation’s important work.

☔ May: The First ZWDO Zero Waste Pattern!

In May ​​we released the Beta version of the KIABI Zero Waste Windbreaker DIY pattern, and invited you to test the pattern and provide feedback. ZWDO Co-founder Mylène adapted the industrial version of the pattern into a version accessible to home-makers and sewers with an emphasis on size inclusivity and language accessibility. Learn about the making of the pattern and the collaborative process by clicking here. You can also download the pattern.

😍 June: Patterns Galore!

In June on the ZWDO blog, Oscar Ruiz-Schmidt, Creative Director of Obra Gris, shared the pattern and step-by-step instructions behind the brand’s zero waste Cake Top. This has been our most popular blog post to date with over 2000 views! Read the blog.

Also in June, we hosted our first co-creation experience to explore zero waste hood design ideas to add and adapt to multiple patterns. Inspiring community members from Australia, Lille, Teheran, Berkeley, Armenia, Singapore, Eindhoven and more all joined and contributed to explore how a zero waste hood design could work. We are SO grateful for this international community! If you're a member you can watch the replay here.

🎂 August: Happy Birthday ZWDO Collective!

In August we celebrated the one year birthday of ZWDO Collective by holding a giveaway of the first edition of Zero Waste Fashion Design, written by ZWDO Co founder Holly McQuillan and Timo Rissanen. The book retails at £36.99 and offers flexible strategies + easy-to-master zero waste techniques to help you develop your own cutting edge fashion designs. Buy the book.

🤩 September: A Grading Workshop, Our First (Wonderful) Intern, and a ZWD Directory!

In September we collaborated with the brilliant Liz Haywood to bring you a two hour long workshop, Making the Grade: Zero Waste Design Strategies. Edited into 4 chapters, 25 lessons, you can now access the recorded workshop on our website for €29.

Also in September, we welcomed our very first intern to the ZWDO team, Ecaterina (Katrin) Verbitcaia! For around three months, Katrin worked closely with Mylène in France on many aspects of ZWDO, learning how a non profit start-up runs and contributing to our progress, helping to increase our global impact. Read about her journey.

Also in September, Clothilde (@squaredespirates) from the ZWDO community kindly began volunteering to help us develop zero waste designer and pattern directories. We will be building on this work in 2022 and are so grateful for all of Clothilde’s time and skill!

🌟 October: Become a ZWDO Member

In October we introduced a new monthly raffle and membership program for those interested in helping the progress of ZWDO with a financial contribution (we also offer waitlist spaces for gifted memberships). If you have found any of our free content valuable and are in a position to become a financially contributing supporter of ZWDO, we would love it if you could support us. Learn more on our website.

🌍 November: Generation of Waste, A Minimal Waste Design Job Opportunity + In-person Workshops!

In November we shared the Generation of Waste COP26 project that ZWDO Collective was part of in collaboration with friends Sustainable Fashion Scotland and Beira! The exhibit begins to surface the complexities of the fashion industry’s supply chains by educating about the climate and social impacts of fashion’s textile waste and showing sustainable solutions from around the world that are collaboratively catalysing change. Explore the exhibit.

Image credit: Lateral North

Also in November, we shared a paid ‘Minimal Waste Design’ job opportunity from Decathlon and were blown away by the incredible applications we received! We’ll be working hard to bring you more opportunities like this one in 2022!

Near the end of 2021, we were delighted that ZWDO Co-founder Cass was able to host in-person zero waste design workshops in Glasgow, Scotland. These included ‘Introduction to Zero Waste Fashion Design’, for ReMode Youth and then for The Glasgow School of Art at Bawn Textiles. She also offered a ‘Making a Zero Waste Wardrobe’ course which ran for ten weeks and which runs again starting in February 2022. Find out more here.

Overall, we had a brilliant and busy year that wouldn’t have been possible without your greatly appreciated support and participation. For 2022 we will be streamlining our activities so that we can increase our impact in a few key areas. We'll be sharing more about this in the next Community Call (Feb 2022).

​​Thank you for being part of the change as we work together towards our larger vision of transforming the fashion industry through the provision of accessible and inclusive online educational resources in zero waste design.

With full hearts and in gratitude,

Cass, Danielle, Holly, and Mylène.

- The ZWDO Team.


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