Plastic Fantastic

Garments made by Textiles Students from Dundee and Angus College, now on display at V&A Dundee.

Students transformed waste materials into a collection of beautiful dresses inspired by the V&A’s exhibition, PLASTIC: Remaking Our World - which told the story of plastic from invention to ubiquity. 

HND 1 and HND 2 Textiles students were set a design brief to create a catwalk-ready dress using recycled fabrics, including plastic. The plastic element each student chose to use in their design tells their individual story about the impact plastic is having on the planet. Some students were using a sewing machine for the first time and had never made a garment before, and the silhouettes are based on the Subtraction Pattern Cutting method which explores “hollow construction”. This unique process, invented by fashion designer Julian Roberts, makes the most of negative spaces that can be opened up in fabric, resulting in experimental garments that break the boundaries of the usual garment shapes.

Georgia McLaren an HND 2 Textiles student whose work is now on display at the V&A shared, "When I heard that our work could be chosen for an exhibition in the V&A I was delighted and jumped at the amazing opportunity!"

Lecturer, Ruth Conisbee from Dundee and Angus College spoke about the great opportunity the students had been presented with. “Working with a prestigious venue, right in the heart of Dundee is a stunning location for students to showcase their work at the end of their academic year. It’s a wonderful culmination of all their hard work. We were welcomed and supported greatly by Joanna Mawdsley, Head of Learning at the V&A Dundee. To have a ‘live’ client as the crux of their project made the student’s experience real and is a great way to engage friends and family with fashion, plastic, and the arts.”

Although it is the work of the Textiles students that is on display, several other departments and students from Dundee and Angus College have been involved with this project. HNC Fashion and Business Students facilitated a fashion shoot workshop to promote the created garments. Hair and Beauty Students from the college did the hair and make-up making it a real cross-college project.

All of the garments created and on display at the V&A featured in the college’s annual fashion show, which was organised by Simone Cruickshank and Bethany Roud, HND Fashion and Business students at the college’s Gardyne Campus.

Ruth Conisbee hopes the exhibition will start many conversations, “Going forward, fashion must be sustainable, such a lot of clothes we wear are made of plastic and Plastic Fantastic has taken this to the extreme. Each dress has a story to tell and if you look closely there are a few surprises too!” 

Plastic Fantastic is a free exhibition running from Saturday 13th May till Sunday 21st May at the V&A Dundee, in the Weston studio.