There is no telling when inspiration can strike a man, or a woman, for that matter. Not all of us jump out of the bath in our birthday suit and go shouting “Eureka” down the streets; yet we have our moments of, what I like to call, “enlightenment”. Nicole Dextras had hers when she saw a pile of laurel leaves her neighbor had bundled together in her garden. While most would have dismissed it as fertilizer for the garden or dumped it into the garbage, this woman of extraordinary imagination saw an opportunity to make a social statement and spark a green revolution. In a hope to draw people’s attention to where their wardrobe came from and the impact of their choices on nature, she came up with the concept of “Weedrobes”.
Using leftover plants and leaves native to the Pacific Northwest, Dextras has designed elaborate dresses and gowns that do a lot more than make you stand out in crowd and bring in compliments for your fine choice. Dextras is of the opinion that a person’s preference in clothes reflects, to a great extent, their psychology, and she wishes to use creativity as a means to raise awareness about environmental issues. Her effort has met with no small amount of success either. In the six years she’s been designing Weedrobes, Dextras has made a significant name for her innovative green efforts.
If you thought that making each dress is no more than pasting a few plants and leaves together like a school project of yesteryears, you have another thought coming your way. Designing and showcasing each outfit is done in four steps. The first step entails constructing the dresses, after which they are photographed in a landscaped setting located in urban environs. The third step is having a model wear this dress and interact freely with spectators, asking questions about their favorite labels and clothing choices. Finally, the garment is installed in a park or a garden where it gradually decomposes and returns to nature from whence it came.
Dextras admits that the dresses she designs are restrictive in nature and you won’t catch anyone wearing it to the latest celebrity bash in tinsel town. Besides, the raw materials for her designs can only be sourced at specific times of the year – spring and summer – imposing yet another, albeit different sort of, limitation on her work. That has kept her confined to the Vancouver area but she hopes to take her creative talent to the rest of the world very soon.