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The Transparent Bride or … Plastic Makes Perfect

Recycled Nuptial Garb Debuts

UMass Lowell student exhibits her plastic clothing artwork
Art student Diane Shugrue, rear, third from left, sports a plastic mother of the groom dress in a lovely robin’s egg blue.


The wedding dress is the one piece of clothing women are happy to wear only once. And despite environmentalists’ warnings, the plastic bag’s fate is similar, if a bit harsher:  very often shoppers use the bags once then discard them for a lifetime in a landfill. 

Art student Diane Shugrue plays with this concept in the full set of wedding garb she designed using plastic materials. Diane showcased her project at the University’s Student Research Symposium, held at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center April 25  – the first time art students participated in the event. We asked her a bit about her work.

A plastic wedding party?

Yes. I was inspired by watching “Project Runway” - every season they ask designers to create a dress out of a non-textile material. I thought it would be fun to use plastic.

You were the mother of the groom, right?

Wearing a lovely baby blue plastic gown, no less. I couldn’t have been more proud. My dress was made from soiled linen bags. I just bought the zipper: the total cost was under three dollars.

Any surprises?

All plastic is not created equal. Some plastics refuse to be sewn, some are fragile and tear easily. Yet despite their differences, the material is very versatile. 

You included an outfit for a wedding crasher. Ever crash one yourself?

No, but I think it would be fun. The crasher’s dress was fun to create. I cut triangles out of a bunch of bags.  I divided them into two piles – light and dark. I then cut and sewed two triangles – one dark and one light – to make a square. Then, I sewed four squares together, alternating them so it looked like a pinwheel.

And the price tag for this haute couture? 

Cheap. The maid of honor’s dress, for example, is made of pom-poms from a dollar store – the whole dress was less than ten dollars.  Way cheaper than David’s Bridal.

The blushing bride – modeled by fellow art student Sarah Phillips – wears a floor-length plastic gown, and veil festooned with plastic lace.
Children participating in a UMass Lowell student's art showcase
Ring Bearer and Flower Girl.