North Carolina-based costume designer Olivia Mears is known for her unconventional designs often made with recycled materials. Back in 2015, she went viral after she created her "Taco Belle" dress. The design was inspired by Belle's yellow gown from Beauty and the Beast, but had a full skirt made up of giant tacos.
The 26-year-old has continued to create food-inspired outfits and shared photos of them online, including a dress made of Taco Bell wrappers, a "Pizarella" gown made to look like a giant supreme-style pizza, a "PBRmor" design made from the beer's packaging, and more. She's also shown us what she can do with toilet paper by crafting an elaborate DIY gown made of the stuff.
Last week, Mears shared a series of other innovative designs on social media made from recycled materials. She put together stunning holiday-themed gowns by reusing wrapping paper and decorations leftover from her family's Christmas event. "Each dress has a separate petticoat underneath for comfort and support," Mears told A Plus. "That helps keep the dress on. The back of each dress laces up, made possible with several coats of paper-mâché."
The first one of her wrapping paper dresses was made back in 2014. "The first one started as an attempt to salvage some of the used gift wrap from the holidays," she said. "I hate seeing so much thrown away, and while the dress won't last for very long, I wanted to get more use out of all the paper and ribbons. With the help of tape and glue, it's hard to see where a lot of it has been torn and reattached."
The following year, she created a glittery red and gold gown made with the help of gift wrapping paper, decorations, tape, and glue.
"This was almost all paper left on the roll from the previous year. No one wanted to use glitter wrap, I wonder why? /sarcasm," she wrote on Imgur on Tuesday. "I've reconstructed this one a few times, once after getting caught in the rain at Biltmore Estate. It held up surprisingly well despite that."
While she skipped making a gift wrap paper dress in 2016, she brought it back this year. This time around, she decided to try a purple design on for size. "Purple is an uncommon decoration color to come by during the holidays, but I saw the purple bow and had to try!" she wrote on Instagram.
The dress was made entirely from paper that was left after wrapping holiday gifts as well as leftover decorations such as ribbon and trim. "Even with the most recent dresses I still try and use what is already around the house," she told A Plus.
She's hoping to continue the tradition next year, opting for either a blue or green style.
While most of us just throw away leftover or used gift wrap, Mears saw the material as a way to make something new and creative. It's inspiring to see the stunning designs she's been able to make through recycling materials.
Perhaps even more inspiring is the fact that Mears is a self-taught designer and seamstress. She's constantly working to improve her techniques and innovate.
"Early on, I was surprised by how many seamstresses started following me and offering advice, though sometimes not so pleasantly," Mears told A Plus earlier this year. "Being self-taught, it was a challenge, but a good one. I've also learned that, ultimately, it's about having fun and using my talents to provide something light-hearted and enjoyable into the world."
We can't wait to see what she creates next.
(H/T: Bored Panda)