Here comes the bride…aaand there goes her dress. British researchers have developed a wedding gown that can be dissolved in water—just in time for the honeymoon—to transform it into five new wearable pieces. The trick: Polyvinyl alcohol, an odorless nontoxic polymer that breaks down in water without harming the environment. Now on display at Sheffield Hallam University’s Furnival Gallery, the dress and its subsequent permutations are the result of an unlikely union between the college’s fashion and engineering students.
TO HAVE AND TO UNHOLD
One of the most iconic and symbolic garments in human history, the wedding gown also exemplifies the challenges of disposable clothing, according to Jane Blohm, a fashion lecturer at the university.
“The students wanted to challenge the notion that a wedding dress should only be used once and aimed to explore modern society’s attitudes toward throwaway fashion,” she says, noting that while the price of clothing in the United Kingdom has plunged by up to 25 percent, the number of clothes purchased has spiked by almost 40 percent.
74 percent of the 2 million tons of clothes purchased in the U.K. each year winds up in landfills.
Textiles are the fastest-growing waste product in Britain, with roughly 74 percent of the 2 million tons of clothes they buy each year winding up in landfills. “In order to reduce fashion’s impact on the environment, the fashion industry must begin to challenge conventional attitudes and practices,” Blohm says.
We recommend sticking to an indoor wedding, though.