One of the most beautiful things about being a fashion designer is that you get to create wearable art. Art that is in a league of its own and that transcends the norm. Another great thing about being a fashion designer is that with the right level of creativity, you get to use all sorts of materials to make fashion.
With the increased awareness of sustainability in the fashion industry, fashion designers are being very innovative in creating fashion. While some are making new clothes out of old ones, others are using milk to make clothes, and yet others are using materials like aloe vera, sugar cane, and coconut husks to make sneakers.
For Alexandra Sipa, however, it comes down to using discarded electrical wires to make colourful, stunning, and beautiful fashion items.
The 23-year-old designer, Alexandra Sipa, stumbled upon the concept of designing fashion items, like dresses, vests, and tops, from electrical wires completely by accident. While working on her sustainable project for school, her earphone broke and she noticed the colourful wires inside it. From there the idea was birthed.
Alexandra, who later incorporated the concept into her graduate collection, draws her inspiration from her Romanian heritage. From a young age, she developed her interest in fashion when her mother, a lingerie designer, introduced it to her by making cardboard cutouts of Barbie’s for her to trace on paper and draw on top of. Her mother also taught her to sew.
It was, however, her grandmother who taught her to incorporate waste in her designs. Her grandmother, who has a creative side to her, used “whatever she had to make art or decorate her home” and Alexandra admired the way she makes “any object look like a treasure, no matter where it came from.”
By using combined lace-making techniques which consist of traditional Romanian techniques and popular Western lacing techniques, Alexandra makes garments and accessories from wires.
Apart from the electrical wires she infused into her graduate collection, she also made use of discarded fabrics from factories in her hometown and beach towels from a charity shop. The discarded fabric was used to make a blouse and the handle of a wire bag for her collection while the beach towels were used, in combination with lace inserts, embroidery, and faux fur trimmings from a vintage coat, to make a coat and hat.
Through her work, Alexandra hopes to draw attention to the growing issue of electronic waste in the world. She also hopes that her project collection and those similar to it can help effect a positive environmental change in the fashion industry.
What’s to Learn from Alexandra Sipa?
Alexandra Sipa has shown that fashion can be made from even the most unexpected materials and still turn out beautiful. She might not have changed the face of fashion but she has shown that fashion should not be restricted.
As fashion designers, many times it is so easy to get caught up in the process of making fashion items from regular items that we fail to see other items that can be infused into our collections. Like Alexandra, sometimes, it is important to let your hair down and think outside the box to come up with unique designs that are proudly yours.