May 27, 2008
Designer FIJI Water Dress Sparkles at San Francisco Fashion Show
On April 26th, St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco held the “Discarded to Divine” gala, an eco-friendly fashion show and charity fundraiser. Kim, our Northern California events coordinator, recruited designers Elaine O’Malley and Lisa Anne Fullerton to create a dress made from 100% recycled and reused materials, including FIJI Water packaging, for a model to wear throughout the evening.
Here, Elaine and Lisa explain the amazing creative process that led to the design of the dress:
Creating the FIJI Water dress was a great creative experiment for both of us. When we were approached by FIJI Water, we were extremely excited to take on such a remarkable challenge, and especially inspired by FIJI Water’s commitment to the environment, and our own part in bringing this fantastic idea to life!
We began coming up with different design concepts early on, creating sketches and idea boards, based on the current trends in fashion, and our own imagination of how we could transform plastic water bottles into a wearable garment. Everything changed when we received our first shipment of raw materials from Fiji, and one concept sketch stood out as the most viable way to use our newly discovered creative tools.
We began opening boxes and simply experimenting. There were rolls of labeling stickers, bottle caps, plastic shrink wrap, even bags of plastic resins that they melt down to create the actual FIJI bottle! We had also been drinking FIJI Water quite liberally at the time, and had acquired quite a collection of empty bottles to play with. Ideas flowed as we toyed with pleating the rolls of labeling, and cutting circular sequin shapes out of our leftover plastic bottles, and the FIJI Water dress was born.
In addition to the raw materials provided by FIJI Water, we also used two innovative textiles to help create the base of our garment. PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is a textile made from 100% plastic PET bottles, which has the potential to keep almost three billion plastic PET bottles out of the world’s landfills each year and provide a great alternative to contribute to a healthier environment. We also used a new innovation of polyester, which has been recycled from old polyester clothing that is broken down and then re-woven into new fabric. Between these two amazing recycled textile resources and the raw materials from Fiji, we were able to recycle and reuse in new and unusual ways to create a fantastic and fun garment.
We created the garment in less than two weeks, with very few solid hours of work time, as we are both working designers. However, our collective inspiration and fabulous teamwork was enough to get us through the bumpy road of sewing through plastic and renegade pattern-drafting techniques, and our end result was a flirty, fun, one-of-a-kind, ‘enviro-tastic’ FIJI Water dress!!!