Two things that are forever: plastics and fabrics.
The average everyday plastic bottle takes 450 years to degrade (around 6 lifetimes if the average person lives up to 70 years). And although materials and length will always vary, humanity will constantly be wearing some kind of clothing for their whole lifespan. So why not hit two birds with the same stone so to speak?
In Ireland and Scotland, a recycle fashion competition takes place every year dubbed Junk Kouture for secondary level students (high school). The premier national competition aims to bring out young designers while subtly educating the next generation on recycling and upcycling. An excess of imagination in the young produced this gorgeous 2014 entry named Plastic Surgery.
The gown was made from 150 plastic milk cartons and took 7 months of designing, cutting and piecing together to fabricate the airy, delicate and lacy texture. The creators, Hannah Ní Chathasaigh, Nora Ní Chathasaigh and Meadhbh Ní Dhomhnaill, painstakingly matched the edges in the plastic carton to the curves of a woman’s body to achieve the strong yet fluid lines of the gown.
On the other side of the world springs plastic gold from Saharan refugee waste plastics. Using the Hot Sand Technique developed by Florie Salnot, a Royal College of Art student, old plastic bottles were transformed into lovely faux gold jewelry.
Wearable trashion art is fast becoming part of the fashion equation. Companies have taken on the Cradle to Cradle concept of a product’s lifecycle.
Acclaimed Filipino designer Francis Sollano, one of only two Asians invited to this year’s New York Fashion Week drew his trashion inspiration while driving his car over street flooded with rain water after only a few minutes of downpour. When garbage started floating by, Francis decided to do something. Hence the marriage of trash and fashion in his creative career began.
It takes a mind shift to see beauty in garbage. What was it that a Seabiscuit quote says? “…you don’t throw a whole life away just ‘cause he’s banged up a little.” The story is in the cracks and defects.
A new world is set to take order before the concrete jungle is turned into a plastic jungle. Wealth is no longer monopolized by what glitters. Wealth in the future is in the eye of the beholder. And a new generation of beholders is taking their place to contribute solutions to the waste dilemma.
As Waste2Wear founder Monique Maissan, who together with designer Monique Collignon successfully showcased a 100% recycled PET bottles haute couture at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Amsterdam, expresses: “Vision without action is dreaming; Action without vision is a waste of time; Vision with action can change the world.”