Ever imagined wearing a dress made out of paper? House-Wear, a truly imaginative brand founded by artist Laura Sansone is all about eco-fashion, but in a different way than what you may have seen before. Laura’s cheeky and light-as-a-feather PAPER WEAR line is made out of Tyvek, a material which is usually reserved for mailing envelopes! Not only do these clever garments “push the envelope” by using a familiar material in a new and exciting way (something we love here at Inhabitat), but the trompe l’oeil look is spot-on in terms of what’s hot right now in fashion.We “dig” House-Wear’s colorful hand-stamped bags that can be composted into rich soil for your garden when you’re done using them!
House-Wear first caught our eye at D&A’s Green Room this year with their artful “clothing trees.” Instead of leaves, white and silver PAPER WEAR jackets, dresses and even pants adorned these structures which served double duty as a decorative element. Upon further inspection, we were intrigued by the experimental nature of these alternative garments and decided to learn more.
Why Tyvek? In terms of sustainability, Laura wanted to use a material that is easy to recycle and light to ship. Although the Tyvek that Laura uses for her garments is not recycled (hopefully this is in their plans for the future), it is very recyclable. House-Wear sends all of their manufacturing scraps and waste to the Tyvek Recycling Center in Richmond, VA and encourages everyone who buys PAPER WEAR to do the same when they are done wearing them. House-Wear is also produced locally in upstate New York in a small studio instead of in a big factory. Laura and her team hand-print each garment with non-toxic dyes, so no two are exactly alike.
But what about actually wearing the garments? At first, we were concerned about how the Tyvek would feel against our skin. Would it be crinkly? We can say from experience that PAPER WEAR is surprisingly comfortable and breathable (especially important for full-length pants). So although it may look like paper, it feels more like a crisp linen. “And it gets even softer with every wash,” added Laura, smoothing her fingers over the PAPER WEAR shift dress with red accents that she was modeling that day. And don’t worry about throwing your PAPER WEAR into the wash, it’s completely washing-machine safe.
Another big reason why we adore House-Wear so much is the trompe l’oeil detail that adorns the easy-to-wear shift dresses in the collection. While many couturiers seem to be favoring the design technique (which translates to “illusion of the eye”) for its fun factor, it is also important to point out that drawing pearls, buttons and other accouterments onto a dress is way cheaper and more sustainable than sourcing, producing and shipping such embellishments. In other words, this trend is a way for us to incorporate little touches of luxury into our lives while eliminating excess materials and cost, which aligns very much with the times we are living in.
If you want to try before you buy, House-Wear has a nifty “Play!” feature on their website that allows you to drag and drop clothes onto a paper doll. For a more hands on approach, print the pieces below out (on recycled paper or better yet, the second side of an already printed sheet) for some good old-fashioned paper doll fun!