Filipino Designer Turns Garbage Into Gowns
An advocate of recycling, Filipino designer Ricia Juanpaolo creates gowns from bottle caps, soap packets and cartons.
One person’s trash can be another person’s couture. These were the creations of the Filipino designer Ricia Juanpaolo. Once known as John Paul Halili, Ricia recycles trash, from bottle caps to shampoo or coffee packets and turns them into colorful gowns. She cycles around her neighborhood, gathering neighbors' trash, which becomes the raw materials for her designs. She has no formal training in sewing or design, but is able to create intricate patterns. She says it takes weeks to collect and clean the trash and only then turn it into a costume.
“So, I collect it all once a month, then I clean it and wash it individually. I wipe it one by one and then I choose pieces that brought together can create a nice pattern,” said Ricia at her makeshift studio in Calumpit, Bulacan.
Ricia, who was once homeless, says that she was inspired to turn trash into fashion after seeing a woman wearing a garbage bag as a dress. Now, she is hoping her work can inspire others be more creative with recycling.
“There are a lot of people who cannot believe they can do other things with the garbage that I collect. I persevere because if I don’t give up I can let them see the possibilities,” added Ricia.
Ricia’s works are for rent for about 74 to 75 dollars per piece. She often displays them in a local school and asks willing family members and friends to model her designs.