How Does Zero Waste Fashion Differ From Sustainability?

Designer Nathalia Castrillon combines fabric-cutting procedures that aim to result in no textile waste with upcycling for her brand Nathalia JMAG. (Not every garment Castrillon designs is zero-waste yet, she says, but they are all created with the goal of minimizing waste.) “I realized in design school that we were creating so much waste when we were cutting our patterns, and fabrics are so expensive,” she says. “Then I learned about zero-waste design and was like, Oh, I need to incorporate this into my brand once I graduate.” Castrillon took a special studies course on upcycling and zero-waste production at Framingham State University in Massachusetts, making it easier for her to incorporate the practices into her brand, which puts out trendy, affordable designs like cropped shirts and slit skirts. Now, she takes donated and thrifted pieces and makes them into something new via upcycling, while also creating her own garments using deadstock and leftover fabrics.