Outdoor Clothing Ecodesign Using Zipper as Functional Transformation Medium






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Outdoor Clothing Ecodesign Using Zipper as Functional Transformation


Weizhen Wang


, Bing Shao


, Lizhen Wang


, Nan Wu


, Guiying Zhang



Dalian Polytechnic University, Dalian, P.R. China 2

Beijing Huairou Sport School, Beijing, P.R.China 3

Dalian Yiku Art Kindergarten, Dalian, P.R. China a


Keywords: Zipper, Outdoor clothing, Functional transformation, Ecodesign

Abstract. Outdoor clothing may vary multiple styles by means of opening, closing or replacing zipper and display different exterior profiles and functions in order to better satisfy the needs of outdoor activities. Using zipper as the transformation medium in synchronous transformation experiment for outdoor clothing and bag in style and function, this study realizes the perfect combination of practicality, functionality, aesthetics and enjoyment of products, extends the design concept of functional outdoor clothing and gives suggestions on ecological development of outdoor clothing.


The design of outdoor clothing has surpassed the development fields of fashion, which gradually forms the perfect combination of functional & fashionable features and becomes a unique design subject. For designing outdoor clothing, the designer should know its particularity and properly apply cultural, technical, aesthetical and functional factors concerning outdoor sports to outdoor clothing design so as to meet the needs of wearers[1].

The common sportswear and simple equipment have failed to meet the requirements of rapid development of outdoor sports, and outdoor sporters need those outdoor clothing and equipments which are more safe, comfortable, convenient and professional[2]. However, these special equipments not only need high-tech functional fabric, but also need structural change to achieve the desired clothing function. In addition, zipper is essential to the design of such special equipments[3]. Therefore, in the perspective of function, it is necessary to use zipper characteristics to study the structural & functional changes of outdoor clothing.

Presently domestic and foreign studies on functional outdoor clothing mainly aim to realize function through fabrics[4], that is, realize the function of clothing through changing the characteristics of fabrics, and simply realize the auxiliary function of zippers by applying zippers to front facing, hat and pocket. There are few studies in which zippers in main positions of clothing are used to realize function and aesthetics of clothing; there are fewer studies in which zippers in clothing structure are used to realize function and enjoyment of style and save energy[5,6]. As a result, it is necessary to study the additional functions of zipper in outdoor clothing through experiment, and discuss the feasibility of saving energy in the apparel industry by using zipper as structural transformation medium.


Since the overall structure of clothing is similar to that of casual bag, which is similar to barrel shape, they have the possibility of mutual transformation. According to the comparison between clothing pattern structure and bag pattern structure, zippers were fixed to some positions of clothing to change original structure of clothing, change clothing into a bag and thus enable clothing to have double functions of wearing and containing articles.

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Selection of shell fabric, accessory and sewing equipment

Selection of shell fabric. Outdoor clothing fabric should be waterproof, windproof, breathable and coldproof[7]

. The fabric selected for this design was the latest product of Core-Tex known as “the cloth of world” in Europe and America (as shown in Fig. 1), which is most durable, breathable, waterproof and windproof, and can meet the needs of professional outdoor sporters and expedition fans. The pore of Core-Tex film is much smaller than water drop and bigger than water vapor molecule, can prevent rainwater seepage and permeate sweat, thus make the wearer comfortable. The lining is chemical fiber and net cloth.

Fig.1. Fabric sample Fig.2. Zipper sample Fig.3. Seam sealing machine and sewing effect

Selection of accessory. Since shell fabric was waterproof, the clothing accessory was also special, for example, special chemical agents were used for after-treatment of zipper to enable zipper to be waterproof and fireproof (as shown in Fig. 2).

Selection of sewing equipment. Seen from fabric design and processing, outdoor clothing generally adopts “PU waterproof coating, adhesive sealing seam”. Both fabric and seams should be waterproof. There are two waterproof methods for seams: applying adhesive tapes to seams, gluing fabric with fabric, that is, professional seam sealing machine and adhesive tapes are used for high-temperature adhesive sealing and gluing at seams (as shown in Fig. 3), so as to seal all seams, prevent water leakage and seepage and cope with complex outdoor conditions[7]


Style design

The design of experimental product used zipper as style transformation medium and functional design as the purpose. The characteristics of zippers were used to change the outline of clothing and change it into new functional style.

Fig. 4. Front and rear styles

As shown in Fig. 4, this men’s clothing is loose and barrel-shaped, of three-piece raglan sleeve and vertical collar. In the front, three are three pockets with bidirectional zipper pullers. In the travel, bag would not influence the use of front pockets, and the wearer can use three pockets to freely place articles.

Symmetrical sewing of zippers on clothing

Fig. 5. Zipper positions


By opening and closing zippers in clothing structure, the clothing appearance was changed and double function of clothing and bag was achieved. As shown in Fig. 5, zippers were fixed to clothing in the form of symmetrical positions: 1 left sleeve bottom seam and 1* left front pocket seam, 2 sleeve side seam and 2* front pocket seam, 3 right cuff and 3* left cuff, 4 rear right side and 4* right sleeve rear seam, 5 left sleeve rear seam and 5* rear left side. At these positions, corresponding zippers should be identical in size in order to connect and separate properly.


Because of limitations in experimental equipment and production technology, details quality of product could not achieve the perfect conditions, but the final experimental product achieved the purpose of functional transformation.

Fig. 6. Clothing and details Fig.7. Clothing transforming to bag

As shown in Fig. 6 and Fig. 7, the experimental product was changed into a fashionable bag by use of zippers. Zipper method of changing men’s clothing into bag: pull zippers from two sleeves to side seams of clothing, insert lower part, collar and front piece of clothing into bag, finally pull the zipper of side seams; firstly pull two zippers at the chest and two vertical zippers at front seams of sleeves, insert clothing pieces below chest zipper into clothing, pull two zippers at the back and two vertical zippers at rear seams of sleeves, insert the cuff into clothing, pull horizontal zippers of two sleeves, hang the bag bands, pull out the straps from rear lining of clothing and link to front lining, thus a bag is formed. The bag style was similar to that of clothing, and could be carried on double shoulders, fashionable and practical. This clothing was suitable for outdoor occasion and daily use (patent application has been conducted for this design).


Limitations of functional transformation. From the perspective of garment product development, such transformation design is based on certain prerequisite. The transformation between two kinds of products is based on associated functions, similar service environment and consistent functional requirements. Their shell fabrics are similar, characterized by waterproofing. In addition, two kinds of products are similar in planar structure and pattern, barrel-shaped.

Multiple applications of zippers to structural & functional changes of outdoor clothing. Zipper was invented for facilitating the opening and closing of articles and initially used at the opening of garments. Presently it is feasible to abandon conventional structuring method of garments, use the characteristics of zipper to restructure outdoor clothing and form unusual clothing design. Based on opening, closing and separating functions of zippers, multiple functional clothing designs can be realized, for example, zippers may be fixed to sleeve, chest, shoulder, waist or other positions of clothing to change clothing length, sleeve length or trousers length, remove hat and change clothing style, realizing partial pattern transformation of clothing.

Transformation between functional products by using zippers. This experiment only studies the mutual transformation between outdoor clothing and bag, similarly the mutual transformation between clothing and accessories can be achieved by using zipper as the transformation medium. By


using the characteristics of zippers, parts of clothing may be designed to be removable, thus clothing can be applied to different occasions and show different changes. In addition, one garment can be transformed to other garments of different styles, and one bag can be transformed to another bag, enabling raw materials for one product to satisfy the function of raw materials for two or more products.


Taking zipper as style transformation medium is new development focus of outdoor clothing.

The study on zippers in structural & functional change of outdoor clothing is an important part of outdoor clothing and outdoor equipment, and also the specific demonstration of their functional and fashionable features. The characteristics of zippers play the key poles in structural & functional change of outdoor clothing. Outdoor clothing may vary multiple styles by means of opening, closing or replacing zipper and display different exterior profiles and functions. The design using zipper as structural & functional transformation medium of outdoor clothing can drive outdoor clothing and outdoor equipments to achieve perfect combination of fashionable and functional features, and become a unique development trend.

Style transformation may promote green consumption and energy saving. Ecodesign is the key part of ErP (Energy-related product). In view of the product development situation in the apparel industry characterized by high consumption of raw materials, product designers should change their thinking mode, use the eco-friendly materials, improve the utilization rate and frequency of apparel fabrics, and reduce the total consumption of apparel materials. Raw materials for one garment may be used to satisfy the function of raw materials for two or more garments or related accessories.

The enjoyment design of outdoor clothing may improve the market share. The mutual functional transformation between clothing and bag, which uses zipper as transformation medium, can meet the basic needs of consumers, stimulate their purchase desire, improve utilization frequency of products and extend the application scope of products, prolong life cycle of products and accordingly enhance the market competitiveness of products.


This study has been supported by special funds of Liaoning Department of Science & Technology for the construction of Key Laboratory of Digital Apparel Design and Engineering (2009403003).


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Outdoor Clothing Ecodesign Using Zipper as Functional Transformation Medium



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