Plastic’s durability makes it very useful for humans. However, its slow decomposition process greatly harms the environment—especially when animals unintentionally eat some of its particles. Plastic is the common piece of litter we see around us—may it be on sidewalks, buried deep in the ground, or afloat on water. Even if plastic seems like a disgrace to nature’s beauty, there are ways that can minimize its harmful effects on both humans and the environment. Is there a way for people to consider plastic as an aesthetic?
Beauty is something we usually care about. The way we look matters in our daily lives. It takes us minutes to choose the perfect outfit for the day. It can even take a longer time to groom ourselves and achieve a good hairdo. John Galliano once said, “The joy of dressing is an art.” Perhaps spending hours in front of a mirror or a closet makes you an artist after all.
What if we can use plastic to create accessories, or even clothing, from our wildest dreams? We definitely can, but it needs a stirring of one’s imagination and creativity.
As part of the requirements for the subject Contemporary Philippine Arts from the Regions, senior high students from the Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Mathematics (STEAM) strand of Silliman University featured their creative works of fashion using plastic bags in front of the Luce Auditorium last Jan. 5-6. With such grace and confidence, the models flaunted their works in the improvised runway—emphasizing every angle while the spotlight shone on them. But creating such masterpieces weren’t easy.
The Designer’s Block
Thinking of a concept for a design is quite time-consuming. Sometimes, you’ll just end up staring at a blank piece of paper and asking yourself, “How can plastic be clothing material when in fact, plastic is often thrown away right after use?” Even after a few hours, you still wouldn’t be able to sketch a rough draft of what theme the design will carry. Despite it all, senior high students overcame this dilemma and let their imagination stitch the draft for them. There really is no need to be technical—just think of crazy designs, and you’ll get a good one after a lot of bad ideas.
The Weaving Process
Once you have defeated designer’s block, bringing the sketch to reality is the next challenge. You have to exert great amounts of effort and spend a lot of time—and eventually you’ll be needing tablespoons of patience, especially when you think you are too far from reality.
The designs were mostly braided. Plastic bags—may it be from Lee Plaza, Robinsons, or just the plain colored ones—were folded in half, the top and bottom parts were cut, and the rest were trimmed into strips. The strips were then grouped into three, and were braided just as how one would braid a girl’s hair. The process has to be repeated several times to complete the overall design. Color also plays an important aspect. Choosing the right combination of colors can add to the design’s overall appeal.
The Runway Show
After weeks of preparation, the finished costumes wouldn’t be complete without a fashion show. With such pride, the models showed off their works. There was an Egyptian god inspired costume, a black and white mix-and-match theme, a summer outfit look, and a lot more. Although it was quite new for senior high students to weave plastic bags for fashion, it was still a success. Despite the struggles the designers encountered at first, the show ended full of applause and smiles from seeing beautiful crafts made of plastic bags.
Plastic may take years for its components to decompose. However, plastic is not merely trash; we can still create something extraordinary out of it. One’s imagination and creativity are limitless; it can go beyond the walls of the Great Wall of China and deeper than the deepest trench in this planet. With creativity, we can always make something better.