Plastics make it possible -- at Fashion Week

high fashion plasticIt's easy to point to plastic in your daily life. There's your car's dashboard, your remote control and that container you packed your lunch in. But plastic also plays a big role in your clothes -- and to emphasize that fact, the American Chemistry Council's Plastics Make It Possible campaign wanted to take plastic to Fashion Week. So last fall, they challenged designers to come up with pieces that incorporated plastic.

It might sound like the kind of proposition that would lead to a barrage of garbage-bag dresses and Lego necklaces -- but the entries that came pouring in were of a much more sophisticated ilk.

"We saw an amazing variety of designs in which plastics were used to provide structure," says Steven Russell, vice president of the ACC's Plastics council. "By using plastic boning and reinforcing materials, [the designers] were able to layer things and make dramatic shapes they wouldn't have been able to with fabric that just hung."

The winning design team, Wesley Nault and Daniel Feld (or WesFeld, as they have branded themselves), rendered light-as-air gowns in daring architectural shapes. They showed their collection at a show during Fashion Week earlier this month.

While the couture looks dreamt up by the team probably won't be retailing for under a thousand bucks, Russell was quick to point out that whether you know it or not, the clothes you wear everyday may have been a better buy because of the plastic in them. "Plastic-based fibers are a very affordable choice for designers," says Russell. "Nylon, rayon -- they let designers create products at all different price points."

And on top of its sensible qualities, plastic also seems to be having a trendy moment -- Project Runway cause celebre Irina Shabayeva will include several pieces that incorporate Tupperware (yes, Tupperware) in her runway show on Saturday night. Stay tuned for those looks.

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