• Gabriella Tallafus

How Origami and Innovation can save the Fashion Industry, one pleat at a time.

Petit Pli is a wearable technology company. Positioning themselves at the crossroads of Design, Technology, and Fashion, Ryan Mario Yasin and his team are championing innovation with their fresh approach to garment design. They are addressing the wasteful nature of children's fashion through origami inspired design and technology. No longer must we obey the sentiment “you’ll grow into it”. They have flipped this notion on its head by offering clothes that grow with you.


The Root of Frustration

Raise your hand if you have ever felt emotionally drained after buying clothing for a child *raises both hands *. Well the founder of London-based brand Petit Pli can relate. Frustrated by the limited period at which his newborn nephew could wear his gifted clothing , Ryan Mario Yasin identified an untapped problem area in the fashion industry. Yasin, an aeronautical engineering graduate, combined his knowledge of deployable structures with his growing concern of the planet and thus Petit Pli was born!

Untapped Potential

Childrenswear today is inadequate. Facing the same criticisms that adult clothing does in terms of environmental and social impacts, it has its own additional challenges to overcome. It fails to recognise that these "LittleHumans" grow and move at an astounding rate. On average, children grow 7 clothing sizes in their first 2 years! This begs the question, what happens to these pieces once they are outgrown?


Environmental charity Hubbub estimates that 183 million pieces of outgrown children’s garments are left sitting idle in UK wardrobes and WRAP estimates that 350,000 tonnes of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year. It’s pretty clear that children’s clothing is linked to high levels of consumption and lower levels of utilisation. Therefore, these little darling’s clothing not only exhausts parent’s time and money but also places more strain on our planet.

The problems linked to children’s clothing can often be overlooked. But we can no longer deny the copious amount of waste their speedy growth creates. There are two solutions;

  1. Stop Children Growing (hmm let’s try that again shall we?)

  2. Create clothing that grows harmoniously with children (Bingo, we have a winner!)

Enter Petit Pli

French for “little pleat”, Petit Pli, explores how the folding of fabric can prolong the lifecycle of children’s clothing.

Inspired by the ancient art of origami, Yasin has developed a man-made material which allows fabric to expand and contract through the clever use of pleats. These permanent folds allow the garment to mimic the growth and movement of a child. In essence, their products offer continuous size adjustment to complement children’s high growth rate and tackles society's problem with clothing consumption.



Petit Pli showcases how one can leverage technology to offer products with increased longevity. Designed to fit children ages 4-36 months, they use ripstop technology to increase strength, DWR coatings to increase water resistance, and breathable sports technical fabrics to create a product that will last 2+ years. It does all of this at a price point to match that of high street brands – sounds like a no brainer wouldn’t you say?


Boundary Breakers & Award Winners

Industry experts also agree - Since they first stepped out onto the scene in 2017, Petit Pli has established themselves as a brand to watch as they have earned accolades such as the James Dyson Award (2017), a Dezeen Best Wearable Design Award (2018), and a Global Change Award (2019). Its safe to say that they are well on their way to providing the most advanced childrenswear in the world.



So what’s next for Petit Pli?

Well, this team of interdisciplinary design engineers, fashion designers, neuroscientists and sociologists refer to themselves as problem solvers first. They design solutions to some of humanities most prevalent issues through their slow-fashion values.

Aiming to inspire humans - Little & Tall - to value longevity and innovation, they have expanded their product category into face masks, a design which has already got them listed in TIME’s 100 Best Inventions of 2020 and they hope to diversify into maternity wear later this year. This brand shows that considered and innovative design allows for more conscious consumption.


Takeaway

Now it’s safe to say that we cannot stop children growing but we can adapt clothing to meet their needs. Through better investment and innovative design, buying children’s clothing is no longer a frustrating experience and let’s face it, the designs are pretty sweet too (What’s the biggest size you stock? ...Asking for a friend)

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