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Zero Waste Fashion Design & Production With Malaika

by Malaika Haaning

Creating thoughtful pieces designed with love for both people and planet is the underlying concept that Danish designer, Malaika Boysen Haaning follows. Every aspect of Malaika’s design and production journey is intertwined with zero-waste concepts to either minimize, or completely eliminate waste.

Fabric waste is one of the major environmental issues facing the clothing industry. There’s an average of 30% fabric waste for each garment made, with 13 million tons of textile waste produced globally on a yearly basis.

Malaika has intertwined zero-waste concepts into every aspect of her business’ clothing design and production process to limit waste and reduce the carbon footprint.

How Does Malaika New York Follow a Zero Waste Philosophy?

Design & Production

Both patterns and samples are created in-house. Patterns are skilfully designed to follow a zero-waste philosophy, resulting in samples that maximize fabric use and minimize waste.

The final sample is then sent to the local factory for approval where Malaika oversees the production to ensure quality standards are met, and fabric waste is limited. Producing pieces in New York not only supports local businesses, but also limits CO2 emissions produced from transportation.  

Overproduction within the clothing industry leads to tons of waste ending up in landfill. At Malaika New York, each garment is seen as a piece of art and created with purpose, in limited quantities. If a style is completely sold out, then another batch is produced based on the estimated sales. Garments are also intentionally created as one-size or two-size pieces like S/M, M/L to avoid wastage.

Fabrics & Materials  

Sustainable fabrics are used to create every Malaika New York garment. These include organic cottons, hemp, linen, faux leather, and faux fur made from plastic bottles and regenerated nylon. No real fur or leather is used in the production process.

Up-cycled bike tubes also feature as part of the collections. The bike tubes are sourced from local bike shops which would normally discard them into the general trash. The Malaika New York team collects them, diverting them from landfill to feature in the garments indefinitely.

Fabric Scraps

Any fabric scraps that are created as part of the process are either donated to local quilting societies to close the loop, or used as part of other Malaika New York designs.

One example of a zero-waste design is where Malaika created garments using the entire fabric square for the 2018 collection. “We’re continually innovating so nothing is set in stone, and if there’s anything better we can do as a company, we will!” – Founder & Director, Malaika Boysen Haaning.