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Paper Fashion: Don't get caught in the rain!

August 5, 2014 | Thomas Krzyzanowski | Comments (10) Facebook Twitter More...

Homework Dress
Homework Dress (image from CBC)

A little while ago, I stumbled across a fun article about Kara Koskowich, a Lethbridge Alberta teen who used her old math homework to create her prom dress. While I’d heard about people using creative materials to create costumes for their graduation, this was the first time I’d heard about anyone using paper! As I started to do a little more digging, I discovered that paper clothing actually has quite a history.

According to an article called Disposable Suits and Paper Underpants on Mental Floss, at the beginning of the 20th century, several manufacturers pitched creating clothing out of paper as a cheap way to replace using more expensive fabric to sew garments. Wearers could simply don an outfit made of sturdy paper and then chuck it once they were done.


Souper dress
Andy Warhol "Souper" dress, Image from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Perhaps too far ahead of its its time, these early paper clothes failed to catch on. According to the same article however, in the 1960s a range of designers tried creating paper dresses, which ended up being a hit! Prone to ripping (and probably dangerous to wear on a rainy day), these dresses were nonetheless incredibly popular. Andy Warhol even got in on the paper dress craze, creating the "Souper" dress, a version using  his iconic soup cans as a printed motif.


There aren't a lot of designers who are creating paper clothes for mass consumption today - that being said, there are some incredible artists out there who are using paper to create clothing and accessories. For instance, check out the amazing ensemble by German artist Julie Waibel in the video embedded below. What blows me away about these garments is the way they move when worn - rather than flowing like a traditional fabric item would, they almost seem like a living thing on their wearers' body. These definitely put my Origami skills to shame!


Entfaltung collapsible fashion by Jule Waibel from Dezeen on Vimeo.


Origami Jewelery Duct Tape DesignsFeeling inspired? Use some of these books to help inspire you to create your own incredible and unconventional fashion accessories!

Or try stopping by the library for a free program like this Duct Tape Wallet and Accessory workshop at Cedarbrae, or this Rolled Paper Beads workshop at S. Walter Stewart.