Sarah Merrell serves as Community Director for Asheville Fashion Week and directs fashion shows in the area. She is the Digital Media and Production Manager for Mary Beth West...
Imagine a fashion show with an array of garments from 1920s-inspired flapper dresses to elegant gowns and flowing skirts. Now imagine that all of these stunning designs are made of out of, well, condoms. It may seem like a strange medium to work with, but there is actually a cause behind it: Condom Couture, a unique runway fashion show where designers use condoms to create fashionable, wearable art. The event promotes safe sex and is a benefit for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.
This year's event will take place Saturday, February 20th at New Mountain Asheville at 7 pm. Hosted by Lisa Zahiya, the event also features music by DJ Marley Carroll.
As a fashion enthusiast, I wanted to take a closer look at the creativity and work that goes into producing a garment made out of an odd material like condoms. So I teamed with a very talented designer, Rachel Weisberg, as her model, and had the opportunity to see first hand the extraordinary tranformation of condoms into beautiful, wearable garments.
Rachel began the process by creating sketches. She says of her inspiration, "I was more inspired by the idea of really creating a runway look to be high-end fashion, and not look like condoms wrapped all over a model. My goal was to create textiles out of condoms and then work from there." Doesn't look like condoms, does it?
First step, unwrapping condoms. She chose blue as the color.
Rachel Weisberg then teamed up with Cary Nichols of Good Girl Jewerly Designs. Cary performed the metal work and linking at the top of one of Rachel's garments. Cary also designed a garment with beautiful metal work, with Rachel focusing on the fabric components.
Soon the garment took shape and was ready to be dyed.
Once the garments were completed, Rachel and Cary teamed up with local photographer Rodney Smith of Tempus Fugit Design. Rodney is an Asheville-based photographer specializing in fashion and theatrical photography. They enlisted makeup artist and hairstylist Lauren Rivas, with Aubrey Huntley and myself as models. After a couple hours at Rodney's studio (Studio 224 in the River Arts District) we had the end result: Condom Couture!
Rachel said of the final look, "The process inpsired me. As a designer I'm always into this or that. Right now, it's sexy 70s meets edgy 20s." You can see this inspiration in her Condom Couture looks. With creativity and design skills, condoms transformed into a runway-ready look.
To see more designs like Rachel Weisberg's and Cary Nichols', be sure to purchase tickets. Tickets are $25 and available at www.ppaction.org.
Photography - Rodney Smith of Tempus Fugit Design (www.tempusfugitdesign.com)
Designers - Rachel Weisberg (www.rachel-weisberg.com) and Cary Nichols of Good Girl Jewelry Designs
Hair and Makeup - Lauren Rivas
Models - Sarah Merrell and Aubrey Huntley