Value of Design Award

RUBY Liam Patterns

Value of Design Award 2021 Credits
  • Creative Director
    Emily Miller-Sharma
  • Design Directors
    Deanna Didovich, Anna-Lise Sharma
  • Team Members
    Melanie Harvey, Tia Feng, Lisa Li, Ima Jujnovich


Ellen Macarthur Foundation states the clothing industry has doubled output in 15 years, changing customer purchasing behaviours.
Overconsumption means clothing utilisation is declining, causing disconnect from the manufacturing process, further driving overconsumption.
Usedfully’s May 2021 Recommendations to New Zealand Government, reveals Auckland Council estimates 9% of landfills in New Zealand are textiles, rising to 14% by 2040.

RUBY’s Current Business Model:
To contribute to transformational change towards a more circular, sustainable society, RUBY must shift its business model from reliance on the sale of new product
RUBY customers are aware of the impacts of overconsumption, & want us to contribute to change.
RUBY wants to revolutionise what it means to buy fashion, and what it means to be a “designer”

Perception of Clothing Industry
The clothing industry is considered wasteful & shallow, creating a negative feedback loop, which, based on research during the establishment of Mindful Fashion, meant businesses felt too nervous to publicly talk about making change, & the problem was too overwhelming to solve.


What is a clothing designer?:
Previously we thought great design was the realisation of a finished garment. But it could be providing tools for customers to create their own designs, meeting the rise in demand for craft, & allowing customers to build the garment for their needs.

Using adjacent industries to learn:
We looked to learn from other industries. In the food industry, growing & selling food is comparable to how RUBY produces new clothes. But the food industry diversifies well: turning waste into a resource through composting or selling IP in cookbooks.

Iterative process:
COVID helped accelerate our radical thinking & customers supported our experiments. Fear of selling our IP seemed miniscule in comparison to COVID, so we launched 6 patterns online 2 weeks into lockdown. Interactive Zoom sessions followed with a growing community of homesewers to understand their needs, & extensive user testing, culminating Liam Patterns launching August 2020.


In 2020, RUBY stopped producing Liam clothing, instead launching a collection of paper patterns. In a New Zealand first, we sold our IP to tackle clothing waste.

By experiencing the time & skill that goes into making a garment, our customers, & their communities, will value their clothing more, wasting less.


Cultural & behavioural change
Great sales through RUBY stores and stockists
Replaced in-store wrapping paper with patterns (with offcuts from production available in-store)

Industry perception
Sunday Star Times & TVNZ Breakfast interviews about manufacturing & the clothing industry that are positive, nuanced & about business not image.