Wearable Waste: Fine Fashion and Recycling

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Liz Hughes, an Australian artisan has created upscale fashion using recycled materials.  Her Wicked Witch of Waste formal wear dress is made of feed bags and bailing twine.  In an interview with an Australian newspaper, the Dungog Chronicle, she admits that her dress may not meet everyone’s taste but hopes that it will get people thinking of reusing materials.

“A dress made of feed bags and bailing twine may not be the epitome of wearable art but if it helps to get people thinking about reusing materials and products my work will have been a success,” she said.

Liz has long been an advocate of natural fibres for wearable  art works and more conventional clothing and household furnishings.

“Natural fibres are not just beautiful but highly functional, especially in the extremes of climate we are experiencing more often these days,” she said.

According to Liz the big challenge ahead is to develop wearable clothing from recycled or repurposed sources.

“That knowledge and experience needs to be focused on developing innovative ways to repurpose waste into functional and sustainable products.

“This is just as much an artform as any work displayed in a gallery.  It is what the art of sustainability is all about,” she said.

Ms. Hughes is not the only person who has put together a high fashion dress from waste.  Fans of Project Runway (Bravo TV) may recall the Waste Not, Want Not Challenge where fashion designers had to find their dress material at a Transfer Station and Material Recover Facility (MRF) in New Jersey.  The fashion designers were given 30 minutes to source materials for their designs. Contestants sorted through paper, plastic and metal to collect the materials need to create a “wearable outfit.”

The winning designer of the challenge used a vinyl-coated burlap peanut sack to make a svelte skirt and gold mylar to craft a pretty lame’ top. Another designer recycled fashion back a few decades with a frightening gown spangled with bits of litter glued all over it.  Still another designer created an eye-catching dress of newspapers faced with muslin and painted bright green, yellow and teal.

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