Intervju om zero waste med Timo Rissanen

Dette intervjuet er publisert i den nye boken om 'zero waste fashion design' av Timo Rissanen og Holly McQuillan (2016). Den er utgitt av Bloomsbury og kan blant annet fås kjøpt på Amazon

How did you come to design zero waste garments? Can you say a little bit about your background, and how Stabel came to be?

A couple of years into my fashion design studies I started to question the fashion industry and I started to feel bad about just being another designer, making more clothes which we really don´t need so I started thinking differently. What if I could use fashion to do something good?

This motivated me to continue my studies and after I finished my Bachelor degree I started on Sustainable Fashion design studies in Copenhagen. The funny thing (which sounds very unlikely, I know) was that I came up with doing zero waste design in my head before ever reading about it. I was like 'of course'! I will use the whole fabric piece in my design which is a great new concept as well! And shortly thereafter I read about it and realized that several designers was already practicing it. But the thing was that I didn't research it enough to see how the others did it so I just figured out my own way of doing zero waste design by making triangles(later rectangles to make it easier in production). My story in short is that I started out making a zero waste assignment at school- an imaginary collection for Danish designer David Andersen. He came to the presentation and loved it and wanted me to design a collection for him, which I did. While working for him his investor noticed me and loved my zero-waste concept. He wanted to start up a new brand with me as the designer and it lasted 3 months before he realized millions aren’t made over night, when starting up a clothing brand and wanted to pursue other ventures. I wanted to stay true to my vision and we parted ways as I took the collection I had made and moved home to do it all myself. This is how Stabel came to be. Starting up on your own isn't a walk in the park so to be able to continue on this path I am now designing (also zero waste) more for a new Norwegian Sustainable brand called Age of Enlightenment. (


Have there been any positive surprises about designing zero waste garments?

I love designing zero waste because there is always a challenge in making the math to fit and get the proportions right and this is where the interesting design solutions comes in. This is where I get creative and when I get everything to add up it's an exhilarating feeling!


What have been some of the larger challenges with designing zero waste garments, and how have you tackled them?

The challenge with zero waste pattern making is to make everything fit and make sensible use of the whole fabric piece and not waste anything. But again this is what I think is fun and exciting; which make zero waste a more creative design process for me - I'm forced to find new solutions.


Zero waste is integral to the Stabel brand. Do you share this with your customers, and how have they responded?

Yes I absolutely share it with my customers and they love the concept! As I made all my patterns with only rectangles they were amazed by the puzzle I made and that it also could be made into a design garment. The thing was that this concept fitted very well with the clean Scandinavian design aesthetics and my customers loves that they get 'two in one' - design and sustainability.

What opportunities do you see for zero waste fashion design becoming more widely adopted in industry?

I would love to see more zero waste in the industry and I have tried to make a concept which is really easy (all the patterns are made up of only rectangles) - both for the customers to understand and the factories to make. I am all about 'sharing is caring' and I'm thinking about making my designs more available and maybe accessible for others to make. We are talking about doing this through Age of Enlightenment - sharing designs in the same way that Tesla is sharing their patents. I'm also thinking about making DIY kits with zero waste garments - puzzles with only rectangles to put together something that is easy and everyone can understand. I think this is the only way forward - to share and collaborate with others and I also think this could help to make zero waste more widely adopted in the industry.