Saturday, April 13th, 2013
Though it’s increasingly clear that there is no end to the ways plastics can be reduced, reused and recycled, and that all those ways show creativity, transforming something as ordinary as the small plastic tabs that keep plastic bread bags closed into a wedding dress merits closer inspection.
Credit the idea, the design, and the making of the dress to Stephanie Watson, a fashion designer living in Trentham, Australia, a bit northwest of Melbourne. For this assignment, she also was the client, the bride. The dress became a ten-year project for her, starting when she and her boyfriend, now her husband, Will Wapling got together. The collecting of bread tags, as they are called in Australia, was soon underway.
Watson said it was just a joke at the start, but people started collecting them for her and they began filling jars, and then larger jars. Even so, ten years and thousands of tags later, there still were not enough to make the dress, which by then had been given a name, Nadine. To the rescue came Wapling’s cousin, a baker, who donated enough rolls of the plastic tags to get the job done.
Watson then was able to direct her design and sewing skills into making the idea a reality. Though the cost of the dress is said to be about AUD$36, Watson estimates that she invested more than 300 hours into its design and creation, including sewing ten thousand plastic tags to the lining in a way that the stitches didn’t show.
Watson told the local newspaper, “I just didn’t want to have a normal wedding gown.” Mission accomplished, to say the least, but the critical question has to be, how did the dress work out on the big day?
In her blog she says it was a bit uncomfortable. Small and light as bread tags are, ten thousand weigh about 15 pounds, and are not very flexible. That caused Watson to be a bit concerned about taking a tumble, but she held tightly onto Wapling and the big day went according to plan. In the photos, the groom seems pleased to be held onto.