Craig Green Makes Plastic A “Thing We Want To Wear”

In spite of plastic’s status as an enemy of the environment, there’s something so irresistibly cool about it. It still looks, despite the fact that the first purely synthetic plastic (bakelite) was invented in 1907, like the future. As Vogue referenced, when New York was preparing to host the 1939 World Fair, nine industrial designers were asked to create the “fashions of the future.” Designer Egmont Arens envisioned a “bride in glass” with a dress made of glass yarns. Years later, Alexander McQueen brought a saran-wrap dress to his Spring 1995 runway.


Plastic is so forward-looking yet so of-the-people—something we use for Tupperware container leftovers, dollar-store raincoats, and Happy Meal toys. Its cheapness makes it a delight to see on the runway.


For Craig Green’s “man made of glass,” the conceptual man he designed his Fall 2019 collection for, the designer took plastic’s utilitarian purpose and applied old-fashioned, delicate techniques, like ruching and smocking. “It’s just bin liner,” he explained to Hypebeast, “but it’s obsessively elasticated which makes it look like bubble wrap. I like that something so light and so throwaway can be so protective.”


The ruching was fittingly accompanied by a soundtrack of bagpipes and choral chants, because what’s an apocalyptic future without taking a look back in despair and marvel? Green’s finished neon-hued product was something both decadent and highly wearable—a perfect fit for a rainy late-night sidewalk. After all, the designer won Menswear Designer of the Year at last month’s Fashion Awards for creating, as he said in an interview, “things we want to wear.” And it’s rare a designer can create something so accessible and so elevated—all with tenderness. But his “man of glass” is sensitive and nuanced. “I was thinking of this man made of glass, and that idea doesn’t have to mean fragility,” he said. “It can also mean strength.”

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