The following thesis will investigate the effects of rapid industrialization in my hometown, Pittsburgh, that took place in the 19th century, and in response this thesis will be centered around the philosophy of zero-waste. In its heyday, Pittsburgh was one of the centers of the American manufacturing boom. With an abundance of natural resources and an advantageous geographic location, the city was perfectly primed for rapid growth through industrialization. This surge in development improved the city’s economy, transportation, and living standards; however, these improvements were not without negative repercussions. Besides the adverse effects the manufacturing industries had on the environment, there are strong correlations between economic growth, overall living conditions, and wastefulness. These correlations can be observed in all instances of rapid industrialization and can be applied to the fashion industry, one of the fastest growing industries in modern society. As living standards improve and clothing consumption skyrockets, massive amounts of waste are created. Much like the industrialization of Pittsburgh, clothing production to meet increasing demands consumes more energy and creates even more pollution in every step of the process. It is no surprise textile waste is the second “dirtiest” industry in the world. To avoid repeating similar mistakes, this thesis will address the issues the fashion industry faces through a zero-waste design approach. By recounting the dark history of Pittsburgh through my designs, I hope to shed more light on the challenges the fashion industry faces as well as emphasize the sacrifice the city has made to tell this cautionary tale.
Ms. Chanjuan Chen
This collection is about the industrialization of Pittsburgh, its lasting effects on the environment, and how it is a direct analogy to the pollution created by the fashion industry today. To address this issue, the collection “Up in Smoke” is created by utilizing organic and natural fabrics while taking a zero waste design approach.
mannequin and garment