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.
Local designer Suzaan Heyns collaborated with PPC to incorporate cement in her collection for SA Fashion week in 2012.
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.
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.
Reducing waste by recycling, Italian designer C Felli, had the idea to transform old umbrellas into unique skirts.
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.
Swedish fashion designer Sandra Backlund specializes in sculptural knitwear. Here she has, however, created a dress and loose collar from deconstructed wooden clothes pegs.
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 .
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