Meet Norwegian designer Fredrik Tjærandsen’s collection for Central Saint Martins’ BA Fashion Show. Whether you’ve seen seen the transforming outfits—part party balloon, part couture—all over your Instagram feed this past weekend or whether this is your first time hearing of such a thing, take a look:
We were excited to learn that in terms of material, each bubble is made from about five meters of natural rubber—not plastic. “The company I work with sources the rubber from Sri Lanka, working with local rubber growers; and the pieces are made as much as possible from plants,” Tjærandsen told Vogue in a recent interview. After testing the rubber bubbles on himself many times before letting models inside, the designer continued that, “There’s been three occasions when I’ve been inside and it’s burst, which is like a very big balloon popping.”
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One of the main concerns with these outfits besides the potential to pop has been the wearability: Can they be worn multiple times, and if so, how? According to Tjærandsen, the dresses are in fact re-wearable—in both bubble and dress mode—due to a latch system he created that enables deflation and inflation by the wearer multiple times. “There’s about two to three thousand liters of oxygen inside [each bubble]. A human breathes 480 liters of oxygen an hour, so you’ve got roughly three hours in the dress. I started inflating the dresses after the show started, so the models are not in the bubble for more than 30 minutes.”
What is the practicality, you may ask? Well, imagine you’re trying to survive the apocalypse and need to travel from one building to the next to locate shelter, but oxygen is low. Simply inflate your bubble and you have three hours of breathing time and a storage compartment for basic resources like snacks and water. This is what future-focused design looks like.
Anyways, Tjærandsen is keeping his latch system a secret for now, so we’re curious to hear from our audience: How do you think these rubber bubble dresses work?