Creative Design: Graduate

Optimal Anxiety

  • Cheyenne Smith (University of Delaware)


Subtraction cutting is a method of zero-waste design in which the resulting garment is created by the removal of fabric in a process of completely random experimentation. The purpose of Optimal Anxiety was to experiment with subtraction cutting as a means to produce a zero-waste garment, while drawing inspiration from WGSN's Spring/Summer 2019 report, "Creative Manifesto." The WGSN report identified the term "optimal anxiety" to describe being outside of one's comfort zone. Inspired by this phrase, the final garment creates a state of optimal anxiety for the designer through the inherently unpredictable nature of the subtraction cutting process, and for the wearer and viewer through the print and asymmetric silhouette of the garment. The colorful print of the silky woven polyester fabric was chosen to elicit anxiety as a bold juxtaposition to the sheer royal blue polyester fabric. Details include bias binding edge finishes and a knotted back.

Keywords: sustainability, zero-waste, subtraction cutting

How to Cite:

Smith, C., (2019) “Optimal Anxiety”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 76(1). doi:

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Published on
15 Dec 2019