Local fashion designer produces "no-waste" design

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Daniel Silverstein has been designing for half of his life. The New Jersey native launched his eponymous line right out of FIT at 21.

"I started making custom dresses for girls in my neighborhood and musicals when I was around 13," Silverstein says.

While so many designers are showing at Fashion week, right now this 26-year-old is hunkered down at his Garment District Studio.

"I think it's so fun and exciting to see all the new collections, and see the models strut their stuff," he says.

Silverstein opts out of Fashion Week because he finds the shows too wasteful.

"The runway samples really are just for show," Silverstein says, "I sort of am of a mind 'don't make it unless you're going to sell it."

That gets right to the heart of his design approach - zero waste. Silverstein hates the idea of all that fabric getting cut away and thrown out.

"I kind of like to think of it as cookie dough - after you cut the cookies, you re-roll it and cut more cookies until nothing left," he adds.

Generally designers discard about 15-20 percent of their material, but in Silverstein's case, that number is zero. Instead of tossing out his scraps, he saves and uses them.

"Everywhere you see this spine-like detail, is a place where we would have made a seam," Silverstein says.

The scraps show up in appliqus in bursts of color - even for pockets. The scraps are more on the clothes, and less in the landfills - and are better for the bottom line. The more of your raw materials you are using, the higher your profit margin is.

Ultimately, Silverstein wants to create cosmopolitan, edgy looks that delight customers and perhaps push his fashion industry colleagues.

"All I'm saying is let's just design a little more efficiently," Silverstein adds.
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