Filipino designer makes dresses from recycled waste

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CAINTA, Philippines, March 15 (Reuters) – Lenora Buenviaje has been making dresses from scraps for seven years and says wearing clothes made from items such as recycled newspapers, plastic wrappers and bags of rice can be both economical and fashionable.

Using a treadle sewing machine, the 51-year-old Filipino seamstress sews and weaves plastics and other materials to create inventive and fashionable gowns and dresses, sometimes complete with headpieces.

“The delivery package bubble wrappers are beautiful and have a good design, especially the black and white wrappers,” she said. White scarves were good for making fairy or wedding dresses, she said.

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The dresses sell for between $30 and $50 and are used for everything from debuts — a coming-of-age party for a woman’s 18th birthday — to weddings.

In Asia, there’s a lot of litter Buenviaje can work with: It’s estimated that around 80% of the world’s ocean plastic comes from Asian rivers, and the Philippines alone contributes a third of that, according to a 2021 report published by Oxford University’s online publication. , Our world in data.

“It’s important to recycle or use used materials so that we can help our planet,” said Buenviaje customer Lalaine Alcalde. The recycled material used for each dress depends on what her customers are looking for, said Buenviaje, who lives in Cainta, about 15 km away. (10 miles) east of Manila.

Her dresses are sometimes used in pageants and pageants, she also said. “I’m thrilled every time they win, the designs are simple but they still win.”

Buenviaje hopes fashion shows and in-person competitions that have been paused during the pandemic will resume soon.

She also aims to organize fashion events herself to showcase and inspire others to create clothing from recycled materials.

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Reporting by Adrian Portugal; Editing by Ed Davies and Tom Hogue

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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