“They grow so fast,” it’s often said of children. And frustrated parents know this all too well when the good baby clothes they buy are outgrown sometimes even weeks later.

But the new winner of a prestigious design contest may have come up with a solution: origami-inspired, folded fabric that can “grow” as children grow.

The fabric’s inventor, Ryan Mario Yasin, has just been named the U.K. winner of the James Dyson Award, for his line of children's clothing, called Petit Pli (French for “little folds”).

The invention was selected from more than 2,000 entries to be crowned the 2017 U.K. winner, and allows Yasin to now enter the international award competition.

Petit pli fabric

What makes Petit Pli special is that each outfit can clothe a child from six months of age all the way to three years old. That’s about five or six clothing sizes.

The clothing is composed of waterproof but breathable jackets and pants that are meant to be worn as outerwear, to protect them from rain and wind. The folds point downward so that rain – and crumbs and dirt -- can easily run off.

The synthetic fabric is designed to hold pleats permanently, even after laundering. Once worn, the clothes expand as children move, but can fold back again into packages small enough to fit in an adult’s pocket.

The clothing line has been designed only a limited number of colours, but Petit Pli says it hopes to offer a range of shapes and patterns soon. The clothes are still not available for sale but Yasin had plans of taking orders soon.

Yasin will receive GBP2,000 (CAD$3,200) for the win and will now head to the international round of competition, where first prize is 30,000 pounds ($48,000). He intends to use the prize money for further research and development and to grow Petit Pli into a business.

Yasin, who earned a degree in aeronautical engineering, trained as a fashion designer at the Royal College of Art.

“But the more I looked into it, the more I realized it was a very wasteful industry, and I wanted to tackle that,” he told the James Dyson Foundation in a video.

When he learned that an outfit he had bought for his sister’s son was already outgrown before it could be delivered to her, he decided to find a solution.

Yasin says his aim to make “a difference to fashion consumption” with clothing that leads to less waste.