Making Crises wearable


80% of plastic in the oceans is washed in by rivers from Asia. This is a global crisis that needs to be solved locally. The students of the fashion department of the Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts designed garments, that could change the nation’s perspective on plastic. 

We’re facing a plastic waste crisis. And while in Europa laws against single use items made out of plastic have been put into place, China is still struggling to face this crisis.

In 2015, more than 6.9 billion tons of plastic waste have been produced worldwide. Only 9% were recycled. Plastic production has skyrocketed since the 1950s while recycling is globally still in its infancy. China is responsible for most of the plastic waste that finds its way in to the oceans. But this is only half the truth. Until recently China has been the biggest importer of plastic waste. The United States, the U.K., MexicoJapan and Germany were among the biggest plastic waste exporters to China. 72% of the world’s plastic waste were eventually shipped to Hong Kong to be poorly managed by China. But since 2018 China has banned the import of 24 types of plastic waste. 

There is still a long way to go. That’s why the students of the fashion department of the Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts designed garments and objects made out of plastic to shift the perspective on this material.  

Plastic can be beautiful, plastic can be dangerous and we have to re-evaluate how we value this omnipresent material. 

Plastic is part of our life and can be a very useful product. It has immense longevity and is very durable. That’s why it is also so problematic. 

Like with every other crisis, there is a huge potential for crative transformations if we are willing to shift our perspective on plastic and deal with this material in a sustainable manner.

Prof. Klaus Hesse und Felix Kosok together with students at the Workshop in Shanghai