Out of Garbage – Fashion Project

Waste to Dress

Millions of tons of plastic wind up in the sea each year and cannot be recycled in the usual way. Enormous rubbish patches have appeared in the oceans all over the world. “Out of Garbage” focuses on utilising garbage for fanciful fashion purposes, thereby bringing a subject to the catwalk that makes us conscious of the fact that every individual can contribute with his or her lifestyle, habits and attitudes to combat the insanity of our throw-away culture. Out of plastic and back to nature.

The project was carried out in collaboration with the one world foundation in Ahungalla in Sri Lanka. Ocean plastics like bottles, bags or fisher nets, that have washed up on the beaches, houshold garbage like packaging as well as leaves that have fallen from trees in the tropical rainforests and gardens and factory left-overs arising from garment production (support: Akris, Switzerland) replace conventional clothing materials. The theme of the project is the transience and immutability of materials as well as the need to return to a sustainable packaging and textile industry that protects resources.

Along with some 40 women who were trained in the tailoring workshop of the one world foundation school, the designers Bettina Reichl, Irma Denk, Xiane Kangela and Steffen Pirkl produced styles in a 1-month workshop and presented them in a final fashion show. Marija Kanižaj and Sasindu Pramuditha have accompanied the project with their photo cameras. A blog documents the creation of the designs as an online diary from the time when the materials were gathered right up to the staging of the show itself.

Since 1995, the one world foundation has funded free educational programmes in Sri Lanka, from preschool through to professional training for more than 1100 pupils and students. The diverse and state-certified schooling offers are crucial in helping children, especially those from poor and socially deprived families, improve their employment chances. One of the focal areas for the one world foundation is the deliberate advancement and training of girls and women. The further-education courses in the Women’s Cooperation, which included the project “Waste to Dress”, gives young mothers genuine opportunities to return to work.

Project blog: www.owf.at/fashion-blog


Photocredits: Marija Kanižaj

This project is supported by the Austrian Fashion Association (AFA), the Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture, Public Service and Sports, the City of Graz / Department Unesco City of Design and the Embassy for Sri Lanka.