The daughter of garment manufactures, Janelle R. Abbott began JRAT in 2018 with a mission to reduce garment and textile waste. She is strictly committed to working with reclaimed, found, vintage, deadstock, and thrifted materials to create one of a kind garments and works of art through the zero waste methodology.
A child of small business owners, Janelle Abbott (JRAT) grew up with the opportunity to explore and create within her parents Seattle based clothing manufacturing company. Early exposure to the industry led her to Parsons School of Design where she graduated in 2012 with a BFA in Sustainable Fashion. There she learned about the zero waste methodology which has become the corner stone of her design practice. After graduation, Timo Rissanen, her former professor, employed Janelle to sew white t-shirts in Helsinki’s Amos Anderson Museum as the subject of “15%”, an installation conceived with Salla Salin. The objective of the installation was to highlight both the wastefulness of the industry as well as the true value of the labor behind garment production. The performance was reprised at New York City’s Kellen Gallery in 2014 with Janelle performing once again. Janelle continues to be committed to advocating for increased consumer consciousness about the pervasive issue of modern slavery and forced labor, wastefulness (both pre and post-consumer), as well as environmental degradation caused by the fashion industry. By utilizing second-hand, found, and post-consumer materials, Janelle seeks to reduce the amount of textile waste that arrives in landfills—which currently stands at 17 million tons annually. Today, Janelle creates clothing, tapestry, sculpture, wearable furniture and rugs, paintings, and much more. She is a dancer, runner, yogi, cyclist, and writer. She offers Wardrobe Therapy as a service for private clients seeking to transform old beloved, yet unworn garments into new, wearable pieces. Teen Vogue named Janelle and her collaborative venture, FEMAIL, one of 2019’s Emerging Designers. FEMAIL has been featured in Interview Magazine, Nylon, and in a solo exhibition at the Bellevue Arts Museum (2018).
About ‘zero waste’
Traditionally, garments are crafted from individual pattern pieces that are laid out as a ‘marker’ and cut from a given length of fabric. The pattern pieces are placed as close to one another as possible but for every positive shape there’s a negative, and inevitably waste is created in conjunction with the finished garment. 15% of all textiles are wasted during the construction process alone. The Zero Waste Design Methodology seeks to eliminate waste entirely by designing markers that are like puzzles—each pattern piece fits into the next so that the positive from one is the negative of another, and thus the garment is comprised of a perfect square or rectangle of fabric. Thus if a zero waste garment were deconstructed, it could be returned to that original square or rectangle of fabric. The importance of zero waste design is to reduce the strain of pre and post-consumer waste on the planet—it also provides the designer with an opportunity to extend their creative capacity by working within strict limitations.