Dress auction

Gumboot Friday is an incredible charity giving young Kiwis free and fast access to qualified counselling. We're proud to support Gumboot Friday and hope that Poppy added a little magic to their mission.  



Behind the Dress

Over 500 face masks were unpicked by hand in the making of this dress. Each face mask was carefully disassembled and transformed into Poppy, by our in-house seamstress, Mel. The bodice took shape with the help of repurposed nose wiring, and the distinctive closure fixtures from the earpiece found a new purpose as buttons. The straps? A lively twist on the elastic in the earpieces. Turn around, and you’ll see the back lacing, created entirely from repurposed mask binding. With no material left behind, Poppy is a work of art.

Where did the inspiration for Poppy come from to create a dress entirely out of face masks?

Every wonderful endeavour starts with a spark of inspiration, and in our case, that inspiration emanated from Tammy, our talented visual merchandiser.  As we found ourselves with the final lot of reusable face masks tucked away in the office, numerous brainstorming sessions were held, to find the most ingenious way to repurpose them. It was during this creative process that Poppy started to take shape. Drawing from a fusion of patchwork techniques and the intricacies of a jigsaw puzzle, I meticulously ensured that every piece seamlessly interlocked, forming the foundation of the fabrics I would later craft with. As for the garment’s design, my love for vintage Parisian glamour played a significant role, and I hope there is a little in Poppy.

Can you describe the process of repurposing materials from face masks to a dress?

Following several sketches, a pattern was made. The challenge was determining precisely where each mask panel should finish on each section of the dress which was no easy task. The masks were carefully disassembled thanks to the Max head office team, then carefully pressed and sewn together to forge segments of fabric. It was important to me that as much of the mask was repurposed during the process.

Can you explain where each of the materials is located?

The outer material of the mask serves as both the exterior layer and the inner lining of the garment. We repurposed the elastic from the earpieces to create the front straps, loops for lacing the back ties, and loops at the side of the bodice. The binding material removed from the top and bottom of the mask crafted the ties at the back of the dress. The adjustable earpieces found a new purpose as buttons on the side of the bodice. The wire that shapes the nosepiece of the mask can be found in the structure of the bodice.

Although it’s most probably a blur looking back, how many hours did this dress take you to make?

The process involved approximately 90 hours of unpicking masks, followed by an additional 40 hours dedicated to fashioning them into fabric components, which formed the foundation of the garment. The pattern took 3-4 hours, and the stages of fitting and construction were another 40 hours. Finally, an additional 2-3 hours were devoted to the finishing touches. 


How many face masks did it take to create Poppy?

I did lose count, but somewhere a little over 500. 

What was the most challenging aspect of the creation of this dress?

Preserving the integrity of the mask material and making sure the fabric panels were able to lie completely flat posed a unique challenge, but I love a challenge! The unconventional shapes brought fabric jig-sawing to life so each and every mask could seamlessly connect. 


Can you share any tips for others interested in creating a work of (wearable) art?

Never allow anyone to confine your creative spirit. Strategize the process of bringing your creation to life, breaking it down into manageable stages. By doing so, you’ll get a genuine sense of accomplishment. Embrace the journey and savor every moment of it!