Photos by Michelle Brand
Michelle Brand isn’t your typical wedding-gown designer, but then again, “Green With Envy” isn’t your typical wedding gown. Trailed by a 16-foot train and weighing more than 22 pounds, the gown is the sum of 2,220 recycled plastic-bottle bases, 6,512 plastic-bottle tops, 13,880 tags, and months of tireless labor. The wedding dress, which debuted at Britain’s largest inner-city shopping center in April, isn’t just a sly nod to the Windsor-Middleton nuptials. It’s also designed to encourage shoppers to ditch plastic bags in favor of reusable canvas totes.
For Brand, Green With Envy is is an opportunity to see mass-produced everyday objects differently. “It explores how we can make sense of the green issue of sustainability—what does it mean to people on the street?” she says. “One of the aims of my work is to dispel the misconception that designed art objects made from found or reused parts lack a certain je ne sais quoi.”
Brand’s oeuvre consists mostly of chandeliers made from repurposed plastic bottles.
Because Brand’s oeuvre is mostly recycled plastic-bottle chandeliers, the gown wasn’t without its challenges, hours of washing, cutting, filing, and polishing the bottles notwithstanding.
“The work and support of the volunteers has really helped me to design and create a fabulous piece which I hope will make people stop and want to learn more about the process of how it was made,” she says. “If it does this, then it has done what it set out to achieve which is to bring the idea of sustainability to the everyday consumer in a creative and thought-provoking way.”