Clothing from unconventional materials

Every now and again one comes across interesting competitions aimed at promoting innovation in fashion, be it recycling, up cycling, sustainability, or the use of novel construction methods or materials.

Increasingly, established designers are also exploring the use of alternatives to fabric, or combining surprising elements with fabric in order to create something “different”.

Concrete/cement seems to be quite fashionable. At Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld used concrete cubes in his Haute Couture collection for Fall 2014, while Tracy Reese had already placed cement appliques on leather in 2009.

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Chanel

Tracy Reese

Tracy Reese

 

Local designer Suzaan Heyns collaborated with PPC to incorporate cement in her collection for SA Fashion week in 2012.

Ensembles with cement shoulder pieces by Suzaan Heyns

Ensembles with cement shoulder pieces by Suzaan Heyns

Ivanka Studio and Concrete Works in Budapest, Hungary, offer concrete couture, exclusive experimental wearable designs which can be viewed on their website.

Ivanka Studio and Concrete Works

Ivanka Studio and Concrete Works

Brazilian Luana Jardim, normally known for creating shoes, sent a spectacular range of dresses made from iron down the runway during Rio de Janeiro Spring/Summer Fashion Week 2009.

Designs from Luana Jardim’s Speculum range

Designs from Luana Jardim’s Speculum range

Sometimes familiar articles are used to create unconventional garments, either as part of an advertising campaign, to promote awareness about some issue, to recycle, or as Objects d’Art.

Stylish dress created for Orbit Mist print advertising campaign

Stylish dress created for Orbit Mist print advertising campaign

Dress from a condom fashion show in China

Dress from a condom fashion show in China

Reducing waste by recycling, Italian designer C Felli, had the idea to transform old umbrellas into unique skirts.

One-of-a-kind umbrella skirt by C Felli

One-of-a-kind umbrella skirt by C Felli

Japanese balloon artist Rie Hosokai and talented art director/designer Takashi Kawada use hundreds of twisted balloons to fashion wearable garments, and Li Xiaofeng has made a dress from several pieces of blue and white porcelain from the Ming and Qing Dynasty sewn together using silver thread.

Rie Hosokai and Takashi Kawada

Rie Hosokai and Takashi Kawada

Li Xiaofeng

Li Xiaofeng

Swedish fashion designer Sandra Backlund specializes in sculptural knitwear. Here she has, however, created a dress and loose collar from deconstructed wooden clothes pegs.

Sandra Bucklund

Sandra Bucklund

And whilst on the topic of knitting, Ivano Vitali is an Italian ecologist, sculptor and performer who strives to create what he calls Impact Zero art. He has taken this one step further to Zero-Waste fashion, by recycling newsprint into balls of ‘yarn’ with which he knits clothing. A translation of his beautiful website in which he explains his rationale can be found at http://www.artnest.eu/casina/casina.html .

Ivano Vitali

Ivano Vitali

But perhaps honour of having created the ‘greenest’ dress of all, from the most original material, most go to Jean-Paul Gaultier in collaboration with ecological artist Patrick Blanc, for this number from Gaultier’s Spring/Summer 2002 collection

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Sources

http://chuisloveletters.com/2014/07/13/chanel-fall-2014-haute-couture/

http://fashion.about.com/od/fashionshows/ig/Tracy-Reese.-T1x/Cement-Applique–Leather-Skirt.htm

http://www.stylescoop.co.za/2012/11/28/suzaan-heyns/

http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/ivanka-studio

http://www.besttopnews.com/photo/report/irondress-508/3

http://www.toxel.com/inspiration/2010/10/14/12-stylish-and-unique-dresses/

http://oddstuffmagazine.com/creative-but-weird-dresses-made-out-of-waste-and-other-alternates.html

http://www.toxel.com/inspiration/2013/07/12/balloon-dresses/

http://www.dezeen.com/2007/11/12/in-no-time-by-sandra-backlund/

https://www.pinterest.com/pinnify/artist-ivano-vitali/

http://unterberger.servus.at/research/blanc