E-Waste Couture

Every year millions of pieces of electronic equipment is produced and sold worldwide. The shelf life of laptops, cell phones, and televisions is becoming shorter and shorter. When these items are discarded they crowd landfills and recycling centers and become known as E-Waste (Griffin, 2014). E-Waste can be recycled, but the process involves use of toxic chemicals to break down the materials, exposure to lead and other dioxins (Griffin, 2014). Many electronics also contain precious metals like silver, gold and copper, which are extracted from circuit boards using dangerous methods like boiling and acid (Griffin, 2014). The purpose of this project is to bring awareness to the dangers and proliferation of E-Waste and safely repurpose E-Waste into a new form as an embellishment.


The Plastic Pieces

Electronic pieces included in the design were a laptop, desktop monitor, five keyboards, a laptop cooler, and multiple discarded circuit boards. All items were retrieved though donations, garbage bins and thrift stores and were in non-working order. Each piece was carefully broken apart by hand and dangerous materials discarded. All breaking of equipment was done with proper safety equipment. A Dremel tool was used to drill holes into the plastic pieces to allow them to be sewn onto the dress by hand.


The gown was constructed using draping and flat patterning techniques. The body of the dress is made of black cotton twill overlayed with polyester netting. The bodice is boned, lined and has an invisible zipper up the back. The hem of the dress features a large black band supporting the weight of the electronic pieces. The dress has a decorative clasp closure at the back waist and an overlapping pointed back neck closure. 

 Griffin, D. (2014). Electronic waste hazards. Information Today, 31(1), 1, 36