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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Melissa Lockwood

Melissa Joyce Lockwood (
Private sector

    Melissa Lockwood is an interdisciplinary artist who has been creating garments with fashion industry waste fabrics in NYC for 10+ years.

    With so much fabric going into the landfills it is important for designers to learn to keep fabrics in use. The fashion industry is the number three industry causing global impacting pollution.

    The fashion industry's current wasteful, polluting production methods need to collapse and be replaced by a new zero waste system.

    Melissa has developed a method that utilizes the waste fabric areas in fashion pattern layout.   The method she developed creates additional garments from the pattern layout waste areas that are usually sent to the landfill.

    Her project explains how designers can make more garments and less landfill waste by learning to design into their waste fabric areas, specifically the pattern layout waste areas.





    Melissa’s research has been focused on analyzing fashion pattern layout waste fabrics, this is the area outside of and surrounding the intended garment pattern pieces. This fabric is thrown away in massive quantities at the factories.

    During her research of fashion industry waste fabrics she discovered a technique that can lower fashion industry waste fabrics globally. Melissa noticed a glitch in the production system, massive quantities of fabric is being deposited into the landfills. It happened that the fabrics in the dumpsters had something in common. The fabric was in stacks of same shape pieces. The stacks had many pieces all the same shape.

    As Melissa watched fabric being cut out in a factory she noticed that all the intended garment pieces were cut out in stacks of multiple same shape pieces. Simultaneously the waste pieces were cut out in the same number of pieces, these were thrown away.  

    When Melissa collected samples of the discarded stacks of fabric, she noticed that many of the pieces were long and narrow widening at one end. Melissa intuitively decided to create a cylinder with the pieces, she didn’t alter the shapes of the pieces and cylinders were easily formed Melissa adjusted these into dresses, skirts and capes.  This concept and process can be applied to any mass production block pattern.

    The premise of Melissa’s project is to identify and utilize the long narrow widening at one end pieces of fabric found in the pattern layout waste areas.  Melissa has found that the stacks of same shape pieces are usable, through application of radial projection.  By applying radial projection to these same shape pieces the creation of cylindrical structures is easily accomplished and thus wearable garments are easily made.

    Expected Impact

    The Impact of this project depends on the number of fashion designers to adopt this practice. This project can make a significant impact when mass producing global designers incorporate  this idea into their practices.  Finding any usable stacks of same shape pieces in the pattern layout waste areas will create more garments and less landfill waste.

    The design and production of clothing made from the pattern layout waste area will be an improvement over depositing these fabrics in the landfills.  What is unique about this project is that it looks and the mass production pattern layout layers as a design area.  Utilizing the multiple same shape pieces as a design concept.

    Melissa expects that this concept will be employed and major improvements will be made.  It is a simple procedure.  She can easily teach designers to utilize this process.

    To understand and utilize this concept, designers will need to let form follow function.  In this instance, Melissa means in order to lower fashion industry waste flexibility in design control will need to happen.  Since the shapes are determined by the unique original pattern parts.  The designer will need to allow the predetermined shapes that are a byproduct of the pattern layout.  To adjust the pattern layout to maximize the usage of the pattern layout waste fabrics.

    The shapes created by traditional garments pattern layout create repeatedly usable shapes for garment creation with the waste fabrics.

    Melissa’s experiments are wearable and easy to make, considered fashion forward, stylish and collections are featured in Vogue and other publications.



    Implementation of the Project/Activity

    The need has arrived to reduce the waste stream of fabric into landfills. Fabric waste is hurting our planet through its excess production and discard as pre-consumer and post consumer waste. It is estimated  that 92 million tons of textile waste is created annually by the fashion industry.  The production and waste are causing pollution both on land, in the atmosphere and our oceans.

    Melissa’s project focuses of pre-consumer waste fabrics produced during the cut out of garments at mass producing factories.  She pinpoints mass production pattern layout fabrics.

    During her research of fashion industry waste fabrics, she discovered a technique that can lower fashion industry waste fabrics globally. Melissa noticed a glitch in the production system, massive quantities of pre consumer fabrics are being deposited into the landfills.

    While observing garments being cut out in a factory Melissa noticed that all the intended garment pieces were cut out in stacks of multiple same shape pieces and the waste pieces were cut out in the same number of pieces and were thrown away.

    Additionally, Melissa noticed that many of the pieces were long and narrow, widening at one end, she intuitively without altering of the shapes of the pieces created cylinders and garments wereeasily formed.

    Melissa has created a method that uses radial project in garment conceptualization based on pattern layout of discard fabric shapes found in fashion pattern layout waste.

    Radial projection is applied to the stacks of same shape pieces produced in mass production pattern layout waste areas.  As a production pattern layout is created with the original garment pieces and the knowledge of the quantity to be manufacture one can design with the multiple same shape pieces found in the pattern layout waste areas.  This can be done in the pre-production process.  Designers can design into the areas because they can quantify the number of same shape pieces and they’re sizes.

    Through the use of the same shape pieces and the application of radial projection on the structure of the form makes it possible to pre determine the outcome of a 3D object from the waste fabric areas. It is possible for fashion designers to mine the layout patterns waste area for additional garments.

    Patterns can be made in the “waste fabric” areas along side the original garments patterns once the layout of originating garments in formed.  Patterns can be made with the “waste fabric” areas alongside the original garments patterns. 

    Melissa is looking for consultations with fashion designers to share this concept in detail to realize its potential.


    Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer

    Melissa directly workshops/teaches methods to lower fashion industry waste online and in person.

    Melissa has taught at, The Putney Schools Summer Arts Program, teaching fashion design: zero waste pattern making and up-cycling.  Additionally she has taught in person workshops in NYC and online live and through video.

    Melissa is transferring technology and ideas as freely as possible through, fashion shows, exhibits, showrooms, pop ups, workshops, artists residencies and consultations.

    Melissa is looking for designers and factories to share her research with so it will spread as a global practice.

    Melissa is part of the Design Science Studio and member of the Buckminster Fuller Institute.  She has had direct participation online and in person the last two years.   Melissa has been researching fashion industry pattern layout waste for 12 plus years.

    Coordination mechanisms

    The goal of this project is to teach fashion designers a method that allows them to design with the fabric the usually throw away as a byproduct of their production process.

    This technique transforms the waste area into a use area during the design and layout for production process.

    This project when utilized will lower fashion industry greenhouse omissions. it will create positive change in the fashion industry world wide.

    This is a major discovery!


    Melissa's method has been tested and has achieved zero waste block patterns with traditional garment pattern layout.

    This technique can transform traditional garment patterns layout to zero waste, it has been tested on pattern blocks containing: hooded jackets, pants, tops, capes and skirts.

    This project creates a new vernacular in fashion design through its use of the multiple same shape pattern layout waste area pieces that are a bi-product of the design process.  The acceptance of these predetermined shapes as usable is a new concept in fashion design.  With 12 plus years of designing with these unique shapes Melissa has nearly show that they are usable pieces.


    Design Science Studio

    Buckminster Fuller Institute



    During mass production layout of fashion garments 10-30% of the fabric used is thrown away as pre-consumer textile waste. These fabrics are generated by the pattern layout waste areas, this mean nearly 10-30% of the fabric placed on the cutout table immediately is sent to the landfill. When designers learn to design into these areas more garments can be made with the fabric and less will go to the landfills and eventually a sustainable system can be developed.

    It is estimated that 92 million tons of textile waste is created annually by the fashion industry. To reduce the pre-consumer waste made during pattern layout will reduce this number significantly.

    The use of the pattern area waste fabrics as a design vernacular can raise awareness about the necessity of reducing fabrics of all kinds becoming landfill waste. To show the value of the once thought of waste fabrics can emphasize the need to retain and conserve existing garments. This can help change the fashion consumer and industry away from the the trend fast fashions has created. The trend of garment discard and fabric waste needs to end. The fast fashion model has proven unsustainable and a new model needs to be implemented.

    To learn to design into the once ignored pattern layout waste areas is a step in the right direction. The use of radial projection with these unique shapes creates wearable and fashionable garments adding to the fashion industries positive changes that need to happen.
    Reducing fashion industry fabric waste will lower landfill pollution and lower greenhouse gas emissions. This will curb global warming, reduce flooding and other environmental impacts.

    Goal 3

    Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

    Goal 3


    By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births

    Maternal mortality ratio


    Proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel


    By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births

    Under-five mortality rate


    Neonatal mortality rate


    By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases


    Number of new HIV infections per 1,000 uninfected population, by sex, age and key populations


    Tuberculosis incidence per 100,000 population


    Malaria incidence per 1,000 population


    Hepatitis B incidence per 100,000 population


    Number of people requiring interventions against neglected tropical diseases


    By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being

    Mortality rate attributed to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory disease


    Suicide mortality rate


    Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol


    Coverage of treatment interventions (pharmacological, psychosocial and rehabilitation and aftercare services) for substance use disorders


    Alcohol per capita consumption (aged 15 years and older) within a calendar year in litres of pure alcohol


    By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents

    Death rate due to road traffic injuries


    By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes


    Proportion of women of reproductive age (aged 15-49 years) who have their need for family planning satisfied with modern methods


    Adolescent birth rate (aged 10-14 years; aged 15-19 years) per 1,000 women in that age group


    Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all


    Coverage of essential health services


    Proportion of population with large household expenditures on health as a share of total household expenditure or income


    By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination

    Mortality rate attributed to household and ambient air pollution


    Mortality rate attributed to unsafe water, unsafe sanitation and lack of hygiene (exposure to unsafe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for All (WASH) services)


    Mortality rate attributed to unintentional poisoning


    Strengthen the implementation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries, as appropriate

    Age-standardized prevalence of current tobacco use among persons aged 15 years and older


    Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and non-communicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries, provide access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines, in accordance with the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, which affirms the right of developing countries to use to the full the provisions in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights regarding flexibilities to protect public health, and, in particular, provide access to medicines for all


    Proportion of the target population covered by all vaccines included in their national programme

    Total net official development assistance to medical research and basic health sectors

    Proportion of health facilities that have a core set of relevant essential medicines available and affordable on a sustainable basis


    Substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development, training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries, especially in least developed countries and small island developing States

    Health worker density and distribution


    Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks


    International Health Regulations (IHR) capacity and health emergency preparedness


    Percentage of bloodstream infections due to selected antimicrobial-resistant organisms

    Goal 9

    Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

    Goal 9


    Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all

    Proportion of the rural population who live within 2 km of an all-season road


    Passenger and freight volumes, by mode of transport


    Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and, by 2030, significantly raise industry’s share of employment and gross domestic product, in line with national circumstances, and double its share in least developed countries


    Manufacturing value added as a proportion of GDP and per capita


    Manufacturing employment as a proportion of total employment


    Increase the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises, in particular in developing countries, to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets

    Proportion of small-scale industries in total industry value added


    Proportion of small-scale industries with a loan or line of credit


    By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities


    COemission per unit of value added


    Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending

    Research and development expenditure as a proportion of GDP


    Researchers (in full-time equivalent) per million inhabitants


    Facilitate sustainable and resilient infrastructure development in developing countries through enhanced financial, technological and technical support to African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States

    Total official international support (official development assistance plus other official flows) to infrastructure


    Support domestic technology development, research and innovation in developing countries, including by ensuring a conducive policy environment for, inter alia, industrial diversification and value addition to commodities

    Proportion of medium and high-tech industry value added in total value added


    Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020


    Proportion of population covered by a mobile network, by technology

    Goal 12

    Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

    Goal 12


    Implement the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns, all countries taking action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development and capabilities of developing countries


    Number of countries developing, adopting or implementing policy instruments aimed at supporting the shift to sustainable consumption and production


    By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources


    Material footprint, material footprint per capita, and material footprint per GDP


    Domestic material consumption, domestic material consumption per capita, and domestic material consumption per GDP


    By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses


    (a) Food loss index and (b) food waste index


    By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment

    Number of parties to international multilateral environmental agreements on hazardous waste, and other chemicals that meet their commitments and obligations in transmitting information as required by each relevant agreement

    (a) Hazardous waste generated per capita; and (b) proportion of hazardous waste treated, by type of treatment


    By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse


    National recycling rate, tons of material recycled


    Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle

    Number of companies publishing sustainability reports


    Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities


    Number of countries implementing sustainable public procurement policies and action plans


    By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature


    Extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development are mainstreamed in (a) national education policies; (b) curricula; (c) teacher education; and (d) student assessment


    Support developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production


    Installed renewable energy-generating capacity in developing countries (in watts per capita)


    Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products


    Implementation of standard accounting tools to monitor the economic and environmental aspects of tourism sustainability


    Rationalize inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption by removing market distortions, in accordance with national circumstances, including by restructuring taxation and phasing out those harmful subsidies, where they exist, to reflect their environmental impacts, taking fully into account the specific needs and conditions of developing countries and minimizing the possible adverse impacts on their development in a manner that protects the poor and the affected communities


    Amount of fossil-fuel subsidies (production and consumption) per unit of GDP

    Goal 13

    Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

    Goal 13


    Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries


    Number of deaths, missing persons and directly affected persons attributed to disasters per 100,000 population


    Number of countries that adopt and implement national disaster risk reduction strategies in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030


    Proportion of local governments that adopt and implement local disaster risk reduction strategies in line with national disaster risk reduction strategies


    Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning


    Number of countries with nationally determined contributions, long-term strategies, national adaptation plans and adaptation communications, as reported to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change


    Total greenhouse gas emissions per year


    Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning


    Extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development are mainstreamed in (a) national education policies; (b) curricula; (c) teacher education; and (d) student assessment


    Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible


    Amounts provided and mobilized in United States dollars per year in relation to the continued existing collective mobilization goal of the $100 billion commitment through to 2025


    Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities



    Number of least developed countries and small island developing States with nationally determined contributions, long-term strategies, national adaptation plans and adaptation communications, as reported to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

    Name Description


    Garments made from pattern layout waste fabrics.

    3D model of garment made with block pattern waste

    Video of technique

    Staff / Technical expertise
    Melissa Lockwood is an expert and is available to consult and teach designers how to reduce their fabric waste and create more garments.
    Financing (in USD)
    I have been financing this research myself and through scholarship with Design Science Studio.
    No progress reports have been submitted. Please sign in and click here to submit one.
    Lowering Fashion Industry Waste is our Mission
    This is an example of a zero waste block pattern.
    The gray area is what is usually thrown away, my project will turn this into additional garments.
    Action Network
    Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network
    22 May 2020 (start date)
    22 May 2030 (date of completion)
    1. Europe
    2. Asia and Pacific
    3. North America
    Geographical coverage
    Earth USA
    Other beneficiaries

    Design Science Studio

    Buckminster Fuller Institute


    Melissa Lockwood

    Ocean Basins
    MELISSA This is an example of a zero waste block pattern. The gray area is what is usually thrown away, my project will turn this into additional garments.
    More information
    Costa Rica
    Costa Rica
    Ibero-American Network of Life Cycle Assesment
    United States of America
    United States of America
    Earth USA
    Contact Information

    Melissa Lockwood, Artist