Clothes range contains living plants that are watered when worn in the rain

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 9 June 2017

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod


Clothes with plants growing or pressed inside them have been developed by a Nottingham Trent University student to deliver a message about sustainability.

Ellie Oldacre designed Live Wear to combat the culture of fast fashion and provide consumers with longer lasting clothes. The 22-year-old, whose collection is on public exhibition for 2017 Degree Show, uses grown cress and wildflowers as well as cosmos and sunflower seeds for decorative patterning.

Watered by rain

Ellie’s collection includes a bomber jacket which contains living plants that can be watered by simply being worn in the rain. The seeds are encapsulated between a silk outer layer and wadding, and are grown in situ, living on water gel crystals without the need for soil and continual watering.

When the gels run out the plants die off but retain their colour and are pressed inside the garments, like flowers pressed in a book.

Other clothes featuring pressed plants or seeds include a shirt dress, a dungaree dress, a tunic and a pair of culottes. There is also a bag which contains air plants, including varieties of Tillandsia, which survive without food or water.

‘As consumers we need to be thinking about ways we can be sustainable in everything we do, from producing renewable sources of energy to wearing clothes that are less harmful to the environment. My range is aimed at people who want to be more ethical in the way they purchase clothing, but don’t want to look cliché. My collection is all about ethical luxury.’

Live Wear designer

The answer to fast fashion?

The collection helps combat fast fashion by creating clothing with a purposeful second life. When no longer wanted, the wearer is able to plant and grow their item of clothing into something decorative or edible, as all of the materials used in the collection are natural and 100% biodegradable.

There is also a customisable element to the clothing; the owner can change the plants and therefore alter the appearance of their garments, creating new patterns and introducing new colours. The hope is that this will help the owner develop a stronger emotional connection to the product.

‘Ellie has put together a research project which shows how innovative thinking can lead to a good visual impact in clothing. Not only does her range deliver a beautiful aesthetic, but it also sends an important message about sustainability and ethics in fashion.’

Senior lecturer in fashion design at the School of Art & Design


Click here for more on the Nottingham Trent University Design Show.

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