Daily Planet

Sustainable origami-inspired clothing grows with your child

Children grow seven sizes in their first two years—forcing parents to buy many size variants of mass produced clothing, which results in material waste, water consumption, and carbon emissions. London-based designer Ryan Yasin seeks to address the issue with his line of durable clothing, Petit Pli, which stretches up to seven sizes.

According to a recent survey by Aviva, parents spend over €2,000 on clothing by the time their child is three-years-old. Petit Pli’s breathable, wind and waterproof shells are pleated in such a way that they can stretch bi-directionally to continuously conform to a child’s body as they grow. Did we mention they’re also recyclable? The garments fit an age range of three months to three years old, saving parents money while also being eco-friendly.

Aeronautical engineer turned designer

Yasin developed the origami-like fabric using scientific principles he learned while studying for his aeronautical engineering degree at London’s Imperial College. The material works by employing the so-called negative Poisson’s ratio: Materials that have this ratio are called auxetics, and when stretched, they thicken and expand in two directions at the same time. The approach is already utilised in the medical industry—it’s currently used in stents and implants. Auxetics are also integrated into satellites.

Image: Petit Pli

Yasin gives Petit Pli auxetic properties via permanent pleating. The pleats can fold together or expand, allowing the garment to move with the wearer. The folds also point downward, enabling rain to run off as well as dirt and crumbs: Yasin designed the clothing with a child’s adventurousness and athleticism in mind. Heat treatment permanently fixes the pleats in place therefore they can withstand machine wash. Additionally, the garments are easy to pack, folding down small enough to fit into a pocket.

To date, Yasmin has created over 500 prototypes for Petit Pli and conducted experiments in his own home—even cooking fabrics in his oven. He tested his prototype on his baby nephew and his two-year-old niece.

Yasin’s designs have been compared to the likes of famous fashion icon Issey Miyake, whose garments also boast intricate pleats and seams. Petit Pli will be available in a range of colours and the designs are unisex.

Award-winning technology

The patent-pending invention earned Yasin the James Dyson Award last week, which is an award that “celebrates, encourages, and inspires the next generation of design engineers.” He plans to use the prize money of over €2,000 to expand his business, and is currently working on new designs. Additionally, Yasin says he’s in talks with a major UK retailer and hopes the first inventory of Petit Pli will go on sale within months.

Petit Pli will also be entered into the international running of the James Dyson Award, which will give the final winner a further €33,000. The winner will be announced next month.