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News UD Fashion presents EPA Phase 1 Design 5/18/2017

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TechConnect World Innovation Conference, Washington, DC

​Team seen here with UD alum Dr. James Johnson Director, National Center for Environmental Research (NCER)

Washington, DC

The apparel giant Nike (Nike Considered Design, 2010) defines waste as any product or material purchased anywhere in the supply chain that does not ultimately end up in the consumer's closet. This definition includes non-product waste (such as packaging), manufacturing waste (such as scrap material in contract factories) and product waste (such as samples), the research team focused on  pre-consumer product waste. The purpose of this project was to focus on using virtual prototyping as an alternative to waste generated in physical apparel sampling. Our project focuses on the reduction of product waste at the initial development stage through the use of 3D technology. Further impacts can be negated through the use of best practices in fabric selection-offered by MSI (Material Sustainability Index) data.  With a lack of access to information regarding material sustainability, developers and other decision makers cannot make informed, sustainable decisions.  In developing this system we can educate product creation teams to use environmentally better materials and further improve sustainability.

The amount of textile waste in U.S. landfills has grown at more than three times the rate of overall waste volumes for all materials. Between 2000 and 2011, textile waste increased 38% environmental impacts, the generation of significant amount of solid waste. The production, use and disposal of over 19 billion garments per year causes significant environmental and human health problems. In 2012, 14.33 million tons of textile waste was generated in the United States, which represented 5.7% of total municipal solid waste. Of these textile waste, 15.7% was recovered and 12.08 million tons were discarded. In addition to the textile waste generated by consumers, apparel industry also generates huge amount of waste in their sampling procedure. Every year, the fashion industry runs between 30 to 50 trend-driven fashion seasons, which result in a high resource depletion (Siegle, 2012). A season in fashion is represented by a fashion collection comprised of 11 to 100 garments, and each garment in the collection is physically prototyped. A major apparel brand may have millions of sample garments each year. Apparel product development involves an arduous approval process. Apparel products are designed “in-house” in studios often located in corporate headquarter facilities in the United States. Designs are physically prototyped in factories, often offshore, in the country of manufacture. Completed apparel prototypes are shipped back to the corporate design house in the United States only to be rejected, edited and sent back to the factory offshore, with comments for improvements, whereupon the physical apparel prototypes are improved and shipped back to the United States. This cycle continues until a physical apparel prototype is approved and in some cases close to approval. The innovative aspect of this project involves the use of computer technology to develop virtual garment prototypes that can replace physical garments in apparel sampling procedures. To reduce solid waste in apparel industry, this project simultaneously benefits people, prosperity, and the planet.

Who:  Fashion and Apparel Studies Assistant Professor Kelly Cobb, Professor Huantian Cao and graduate student team: Elizabeth Davelaar, Cara Tortorice, Bai Li, Ahmed Sabab Sharek.

What: Present Phase 1 EPA P3 (People,Planet, Profit) Student Design Project: From Physical To Virtual: Optimizing the Apparel Product Development Process to Reduce Solid Waste in Apparel Production. Development and testing of a hybrid MISi/3D Prototyping system. 

Where: TechConnect World Innovation Conference, National Innovation Summit and National SBIR/STTR Conferences. The largest global innovation program in physical and life sciences.


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TechConnect World Innovation Conference, Washington, DC

​ UD Fashion presents EPA Phase 1 Design

5/18/2017
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  • Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies
  • 211 Alison Hall West
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-8714
  • fashion-studies@udel.edu
  • United States Fashion Industry Association