Holly McQuillan

Holly McQuillan

Senior lecturer, Ngā Pae Māhutonga - The School of Design

Holly McQuillan is a designer, writer and facilitator, who works primarily in the field of sustainable design practice. Her work often explores risk taking in the context of fashion design as a way of discovering new ways of viewing and creating the world we live in. McQuillan teaches across all levels, undergraduate, MDes/MFA as well as delivering master-classes to the public.

  • Expertise

    Sustainable design practice; creative pattern making; zero waste fashion design; risk taking in design practice.

  • Research Highlights

    Local Wisdom WGTN, 2013-ongoing (lead investigator)
    Local Wisdom is a global project initiated by Dr. Kate Fletcher of the London College of Fashion. Participating universities include Parsons The New School and California College of the Arts, USA, Emily Carr University, Canada, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia, London College of Fashion, UK, Kolding Design School, Denmark and Massey University, New Zealand. The project seeks to uncover and develop fashion user practices in centres of high fashion consumption, enabling the further development of a sustainable engagement with fashion.

    McQuillan, H. (2011). Zero-waste design practice: Strategies and risk taking for garment design. In A. Gwilt, & T. Rissanen (Eds.), Shaping Sustainable Fashion: Changing the way we make and use clothes (pp. 83-97). London, United Kingdom: Earthscan.
    The chapter examines McQuillan's and others’ zero waste fashion design practice to offer alternative ways of designing clothes. A number of innovative design strategies are used as examples to discuss the creative, social and environmental advantages in changing the way clothes are made which expands upon McQuillan's zero waste design practice; it negotiates the space between certainty and risk as a fundamental paradigm for sustainable change.

    McQuillan, H. L., & Rissanen, T. (2011). Yield: Making Fashion Without Making Waste. The New Dowse, Lower Hutt, New Zealand. The Textile Arts Center, New York.
    Yield is the result of research which surveyed a range of design approaches and resulting aesthetics and aims to demonstrate that zero waste methods need not impinge upon a designer's unique signature; it can be a creative advantage when designing sustainable fashion. It alerts the world to making fashion without making waste by exploring the work of 13 international fashion designers, including Zandra Rhodes (CBE), Yeohlee Teng (Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award winner), and Ecco Domani Award winner Tara St James. Yield is the result of an ongoing collaboration and exchange between Timo Rissanen (Parsons, NY) and McQuillan to critique the modus operandi of the fashion industry through zero waste fashion design practice.

    McQuillan, H., Rissanen, T., & Roberts, J. (2013). The Cutting Circle: How Making Challenges Design. Research Journal of Textiles and Apparel, 17(1), pp. 39 – 49.
    The Cutting Circle is an international research initiative by fashion designers/patternmakers and educators Timo Rissanen, Julian Roberts and Holly McQuillan. The project manifested as an intensive two-week practice-based research event, where via a series of collaborative collisions, experiments and design intersections, we asked the following three questions. What costs/benefits can we identify to aid the development of a sustainable fashion industry through risk taking at the intersection of our design practices? What new knowledge arises in risky collaborative design practice? And how can this new knowledge be best communicated to foster an environment of risk-taking within the traditionally risk adverse fashion industry? This paper primarily discusses our responses to the first two questions and related issues raised. It covers how experimenting with each other’s design practice and practicing in each other’s creative space as we both designed and made, enable the free transfer of ideas and cross-pollination, thus expanding our ability to identify links, gaps and opportunities. The Cutting Circle project has developed experimental practices with emphasis on the fusion of aesthetics, patternmaking, craft and socially invigorating design.

  • Qualifications

    BDes (Massey University)
    MDes (Massey University)