Being made with pesticide-dependent materials and sweatshop labour, conventional fashion is oftentimes not the most ecologically nor socially sustainable. Eco-fashion has made big steps though, and with designers increasingly turning to unorthodox materials (like cow nipples, origami cranes, condoms, old children's books, food and flowers), there's not too much surprise that this floral-inspired dress -- made out of 4,000 teabags -- recently took the top prize at the Malaysia's 2011 Green Awards.
Handmade by Suraya Mohd Zairin, a 16-year-old budding designer and science student who didn't expect to win the US $1,700 prize, the dress was made using thousands of teabags that were collected with friends and assembled together over the space of three months.
According to Oddity Central, Zairin chose tea bags because they were readily available. The lushly draped dress emulates the forms of flowers since Zairin has been obsessed with flowers all her life, saying:
We take flowers for granted and we never appreciate them. With this dress, I hope this will highlight the significance of nature, especially flowers.
Like many other nature-inspired dresses we've seen here, it's ephemeral and probably wouldn't last through a thunderstorm, but makes a bold statement about the alternatively progressive directions in which fashion could potentially go -- whether it's through smart re-use, biomimicking natural forms, or using unexpected materials.