Recycled fashion: cool couture or haute mess?

9 May

Remember this dress?

It was made by and worn by costume designer Lizzy Gardiner when she won an Academy Award way back in 1994.  It was fashioned from 254 American Express gold cards.  It was pretty bad-ass, and ended up being a great marketing device for the credit card company.  And for better or worse, it also became an inspiration for people to start crapping out their own get-ups crafted out of everyday items.

Sweet date, nutty mom

Did you hear about Wisconsinite Tara Frey’s prom dress this year?  Her mother spent six years collecting Starburst candy wrappers and folding them with tweezers.  Once she had a mound of them, they were then woven into a dress, shoes, and clutch bag.  Mom even assembled a matching vest for Tara’s date.  Do you really want your daughter’s prom date to look at her like she’s a sweet piece of chewy candy???  I know Tara’s pain.  When I was in the sixth grade my mother made me a sweat suit to dress out in for PE.  She made it out of maroon terry cloth with white trim.  The fitted elastic waist pants were boot cut and the top was v-necked with an embroidered bouquet of white flowers off to the side.  It. Was. Awful.  And I had to wear it, just like Tara had to wear that candy trash dress.  At least my Mom didn’t alert the media outlets and there were no camera phones for snarky middle school girls to take pictures of me failing middle school fashion rules and the Presidential Fitness Test.

The Sexual Revolution convinced women to be creative and to, uh, think outside of the box with every thing from their societal roles to what they wear.  This sort of thinking led to the likes of Wendy O’Williams electrical tape fetish…

The movie Fried Green Tomatoes even poked fun of the notion when Kathy Bates’ character festooned herself in Saran Wrap to get her husband’s motor running.  Btw, it didn’t work.  Can you imagine why not?

The best way to preserve left overs

Slutty girls love to make non-traditional choices with their clothes.  But the ones that eschew tube tops and hot pants for belted trash bags or beer can bustiers send the message that they are more creative than other slutty girls.  And more creative slutty girls are more…creative?

Don't say you weren't warned to stay out

But it isn’t just over-sexed co-eds who love to turn old items into new fashion.  Hippies and proponents of the green movement have been making itchy sweaters out of hemp, shoes out of old tires and parachutes plus purses out of bastardized blue jeans for, like, ever.  Ugh.  I’m not even inserting a picture here.  If you’ve been to a Whole Foods or a Farmer’s Market recently you already have the visual.

And every season on Project Runway there is a challenge to make an outfit out of something like plants or house wares.  Edgy.  Nothing says take me out to a nice restaurant like a ball gown made of forks and cinnimon cans.

But hipsters, crazy moms, high school hookers and pot farmers ain’t got nothing on hobos.  When you live in a newspaper tent at an underpass, you’ve risked it all already and your fashion choices are merely child’s play.  You feel free to experiment with texture, structure and material.  The homeless folks wardrobe inventions are infinitely more wearable and useable than most crappy craft creations.  Take this guy, for instance…

Bag lady's husband

This dude is always dry when it rains.  And if he’s near by when your dog drops and unexpected deuce on the sidewalk, you can get a bag from him.   And what about this milliner…

New twist on a Box Top

his chapeau (that’s fancy French for hat) not only shields his eyes from the sun and keeps his head warm, but when that pesky sun goes down he can crawl inside of it.  Essentially, he has transformed himself into a snail.  Speaking of transforming, check out this mass-produced hobo inspired look…

This is called the Selk Suit and it is a sleeping bag suit.  It picks up where the Snuggie left off.  It has soles so you can walk behind a shopping cart all day long and not tear up your feet.  It has sleeves so your arms are mobile and your hands are free to hold a bottle of Night Train in one and a short in the other.  Genius.  This is where form follows function.  This is fashion with a purpose, not like this…

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3 Responses to “Recycled fashion: cool couture or haute mess?”

  1. Laurel May 9, 2011 at 8:20 am #

    The Starburst wrapper dress makes my eyes bleed. And wonder if her dentist had an early retirement.

    • Hot damn, Charlotte Ann! May 9, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

      Google the news story about the Starburstdress. The boyfriend makes hysterical faces when asked about wearing the homemade vest. Anyone I ever dated wouldhave broken up with me on the spot.

      • Laurel May 9, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

        That is because you date(d) men of discriminating tastes.

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