The Fundamentals Range Reuse Clothing System by Jennifer Whitty and Space Between was the winner in the Sustainable Products, Projects and Green Design category 2016-2017. The A’ Design Award and Competition is one of the world’s most prestigious and influential design accolades and considered one of the highest achievements in design.


Fundamentals Range

Reuse Clothing system

The global fashion industry is the second most polluting industry next to oil. According to Greenpeace (2016) we are consuming 400% more clothes than twenty years ago. Over 80 billion pieces of clothing are produced worldwide each year, the majority of which will end up in landfills or be incinerated, only a quarter will be recycled. The Fundamentals range is a design solution to this issue of textile and clothing waste and its impacts. Effective reuse solutions can enable the diversion of textile sources from landfill and create meaningful work opportunities.

This remanufactured/upcycled limited edition, minimal impact clothing range and accompanying wholly transparent system unlocks the latent qualities of undervalued resources through a circular economy approach. It provides a solution to utilize textile and clothing waste material through a series of up-cycling or remanufacture processes, design strategies, and three upcycling techniques; the conjoined, spliced and pieced; which could be applied to any given garment. It is open to access, adapt, remix, share (Creative Commons) via our website and linked multimedia by all fashion users.

The fundamentals range by Space Between are made out of up-cycled corporate uniform waste which has been transformed to extend its lifespan and reduce waste to landfill. Changing consumer behavior is also central to the innovation as the operation is wholly transparent to enable conscious consumption and awareness of the true cost of clothing. The actual garments can be worn in multiple ways to extend and deepen a user's engagement and lengthen the lifespan of a garment. Manufacturing is made locally in New Zealand within a 25km radius by the not for profit, Earthlink Apparel who opens the door to employment for many people with health and social barriers (2015).

Whitty and McQuillan were contacted by NZ Post in Wellington in 2012 to carry out a pilot study to identify a more sustainable method of disposing of their end of life retail uniforms. Thus ensued a period from 2012-2014 of formalisation and negotiation through a process involving design thinking and the development of legal frameworks in order to find the appropriate solution for all parties, Earthlink, NZPost and Massey University. The work has been exhibited in London 2016, Auckland 2014, Vietnam 2016

Our designs use some of the waste that is endemic to the fashion system. Through the development of a partnership with New Zealand Post and Kiwibank we have access to a standardized supply of post consumer corporate uniforms (over 9000 per year)that would have otherwise been sent to landfill. We developed a reuse system which is holistically zero waste in its operation. We developed a series of up-cycling (remanufacture) processes, design strategies and 3 upcycling techniques, the conjoined, spliced and pieced, which ranged in complexity and could be applied to any given garment, including other corporate uniform manufacturers.

The limited edition range consists of nine individual interchangeable trans-seasonal garments, comprising of tops, dresses, and leggings in NZ women's size small, medium and large. The small, Spliced T-Shirt has a chest measurement of 96cms, the medium is 101cms and the large 106cms. The small leggings have a waist measurement of 67cms, the medium is 74.5cms and the large 82cms. The fabrication is NZ Post post-consumer waste. The composition is 100% Merino, with some items in Polyester or Cotton/Polyester.

upcycling, remanufacturing, social enterprise, reuse, textile and clothing waste, waste reduction, circular economy

Practice-led sustainable design research. To create minimal impact clothing through a circular economy approach to creating a fashion system. Developing remanufacturing techniques, incorporating design activism, which aim to be zero/minimal waste,. We documented all of our processes via photography and an online/offline stock take. Implementation of a Life Cycle Assessment to factor environmental impacts. Collaboration to develop a remanufacturing industry and closed loop solutions which we can share with others. Challenging and disrupting experiences of consumption, retail, and purchase. Leadership across academic and non academic audiences to encourage a shift in industry practices.

The challenge and impetus for this work is the current linear, 20th century, take, make, waste fashion system which is the 2nd most polluting industry on the planet. In order to create systemic change, we need to work with others. However, there are many challenges to bringing together a diverse range of stakeholders to create a collaborative framework, which supports both individual and collective innovation. Thus ensued a period from 2012-2014 of formalisation and negotiation in order to find the appropriate solution for all parties.

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Creative director: Whitty, Jennifer , Designers: Whitty, Jennifer, McQuillan, Holly, Quality Control/Garment transparency: Given, Patricia, Labelling system: Banks, Larissa, Earthlink Apparel: Cressy, Shirley , Teitin,Metu, , Lintern, Julie , Tany, Sheena, Website design: Tim Parkin, Holly McQuillan, Jennifer Whitty, Jo Bailey, Chloe Johnston, Catherine Adam, Stephen Holdaway, Tom Le Bas, Anna Brown, Video: Dexter Edwards, and Jennifer Whitty

Image #1: Photographer Nikita Brown/Fundamentals range/Red Pieced leggings and Spliced T-Shirt/Creator Whitty, J & McQuillan, H. 
Image #2: Photographer Nikita Brown/Fundamentals range/Red Pieced leggings and Conjoined Shirt /Creator Whitty, J & McQuillan, H.
Image #3: Photographer Nikita Brown/Fundamentals range/Conjoined Long Dress/Creator Creator Whitty, J & McQuillan, H.  
Image #4: Photographer Nikita Brown/Fundamentals range/Shop page of Space Between website/Creator: Parkin,T. Whitty, J & McQuillan, H.
Image #5: Howley, Courtney/Create it Not Waste it event/NZ Post House/Fundamentals range/Creator: Whitty, J.
Video Credits: Director: Whitty, J & Edwards, D/ Fundamentals techniques.

Copyrights belong to Space Between, Whitty, J and McQuillan, H, 2015

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