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High Fashion Gowns Made from Recyclables


Image source: Recycled Runway

Up-cycled fashion is making its way from DIY street wear to upscale runways and fashion exhibitions. Recycled Runway, which embodies a collection of “Eco-trash Couture”, forgoes chemically treated and new stock fabrics, instead using discarded materials to create elegant gowns. The project is headed by Nancy Judd, a public artist, speaker, and environmentalist.


Image source: Recycled Runway



Image source: Recycled Runway

Using unconventional items in place of fabric has more advantages than waste reduction. The materials themselves influence the design of the dress, creating distinctive shapes that give the gowns their flare and individuality. A good example of this is the “Junk Mail Fan Dress”, whose defining scallop-design in the gown’s skirt portion,  is made possible the fluted cut and curve of the hand fans.


Image source: Recycled Runway

Furthermore, both the theme and materials of each dress merge to send a message to on-lookers. It is no accident that a gown made from plastic bags also evokes the shape and look of a jellyfish. The message here alluding to the harmful affects of plastic waste to the ocean.


Image source: Recycled Runway

Others are a bit more straightforward, such as the voluptuously cut “Caution Tape” dress. This can be taken as a literal warning to the state of our environment, which has appeared in times of late like a crime scene. Some may even go so far as to consider acts of society against nature as truly criminal acts. And with ocean bombings, inhumane population reduction, and chemical warfare taking place, why shouldn’t they?


Image source: Recycled Runway

Through these gowns, Nancy Judd is able to spread her message across the country – and beyond. She makes sure to exhibit designs in high-traffic public areas, such as airports and museums. Speaking of which, one of her pieces, called “Obamonos Coat” – it was made after the 2008 election, incorporating Obama campaign door-hangers, nonetheless – has been displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum, where it is to remain as part of the institute’s permanent collection.

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