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Plastic to fantastic: Filipino designer weaves gowns out of ...

Lifestyle

Plastic to fantastic: Filipino designer weaves gowns out of rubbish

The dresses, made from recycled waste, are used for coming-of-age parties, weddings and beauty contests

Adrian Portugal

Lenora Buenviaje has been making dresses out of waste materials for the past seven years and says wearing clothes made from such items as recycled newspapers, plastic wrapping and rice sacks can be both economical and fashionable. Using a foot-operated sewing machine, the 51-year-old Filipino seamstress stitches and weaves plastics and other materials into inventive and fashionable frocks and gowns, sometimes completed by headdresses.

“The bubble wraps from delivery packages are nice looking and make for a good design, especially the black and white wraps,” she said. White wraps were good for making fairy or wedding gowns, she said. The dresses sell for between $30 to $50 and are used for everything from debuts — a coming-of-age party for a woman’s 18th birthday — to weddings.

In Asia, there is plenty of waste material for Buenviaje to work with. About 80% of global ocean plastic is estimated to come from Asian rivers, and the Philippines alone contributes a third of that...

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