If "Project Runway" ever posed a challenge to use the most peculiar recycled material to fashion a dress, British designer Rachel Freire
would definitely come out the winner.
Freire's latest designs are causing quite the stir across the pond. First shown at London's Fashion Week, Freire's spring/summer 2012 collection, appropriately called "Nippleocalypse," features gowns and lingerie (although that might be my interpretation of the piece) that at first glance could be deemed as delicate works of art rather than anything remotely wearable.
But that is where the fragility ends. While it is obvious Freire approached her work with an artist's passion, the controversy with her pieces centers around the material used to create them. Reportedly 3,000 cow and yak nipples (the majority coming from cows) were delicately formed into the rosettes covering her garments.
People are horrified at her creations. In England
, animal rights activists have expressed their regret that Freire takes the denigration of the beasts to a whole new level. The designer defends her work by saying, "I create fashion using material that would otherwise end up on the scrap heap." She further explains that "what I am doing is recycling. The people criticising are clearly clueless about the amount of leather wasted on a daily basis."
Regardless of her motivations, Freire has generated quite a bit of publicity over her collection, a move that has her being justly compared to Lady Gaga and her infamous meat dress
. The question among fashionistas, in a society that wears leather coats and shoes and consumes even the tongues, brains and intestines of these same animals, is whether the use of the cow's nipples is pushing the envelope too far.