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Lezanne Viviers: Imagine if plastic were as valuable as gold?

by | Jul 30, 2020

Johannesburg’s luxury design brand VIVIERS Studio has reimagined plastic as a scarce resource.  With plastic waste materials, creative director Lezanne Viviers has made a luxury trench coat following the principle that her clothes must allow the wearer the freedom “to be their radical self”.

The studio is committed to quality design, uses deadstock and applies artisanal crafting techniques. Lezanne says she respects material for its intrinsic and valuable properties and celebrates these qualities by highlighting them. “We treasure our materials and strive to create timeless objects of beauty that are worth repairing and worth investing in. We love to repurpose dead stock synthetics,” she says. “We support the recycling of plastic and most of all, we love plastic when seen as an advanced technological fibre with sculptural and pliable qualities, rather than a cheap material that gets thrown on the floor.”

For all these reasons VIVIERS Studio made a perfect collaborator for Refashion Plastic, our Plastic Free Mzansi campaign. To illustrate circular design, Biru Experiments, The Beach Co-op and Twyg challenged five designers to make garments from plastic.

We will interview Lezanne on Instagram live on Friday 31 July 2020 at 1.30pm

Lezanne is the fifth and final designer in our Refashion Plastic series. We spoke to her about her recycled plastic trench coat.

What is the concept behind the #RefashionPlastic coat?

The main drive behind this project, was to re-imagine plastic as a valuable and exciting material with very specific properties that resist water, properties of preservation and of protection; not a material that should be disposed of after a single use. Plastic or synthetic fibres are often declared obsolete after only a couple of times of being worn. Imagine, instead, if we viewed plastic as valuable as we do silk or leather or even gold to be?

From where did you source the materials?

We chose to work with single-use, ‘disposable sterilisation’ medical fabric that was pre-used in hospital theatres as sheets or packaging of used apparatus. This fabric is used in autoclave sterilisers. It is a non-woven synthetic fabric that has great microbial and dust barrier properties and good gas permeability which facilitates the entry and discharge of the sterilisation medium. Our choice of sterilised, pre-used medical fabric is both a sign of respect to the people saving lives in the hospitals and it captures the zeitgeist and fashion of medical masks that have become a new normal in streetwear. In combination with the light-blue medical fabric, we selected plastic from our recycle bin at home. Woven plastic bags that are strong enough to carry wood, were combined with U-Cook Ziplock bags and computer packaging

We selected these specific plastics for both their strength, functionality and, of course, aesthetic qualities.

What were your ideas on form and function?

Our upcycled plastic garment was created as a utilitarian and protective outer-wear garment that can be worn outside during Covid-19, yet it will remain relevant as a water-resistant raincoat after the pandemic. Double welt seams were used for strength and to support the plastic and to keep germs out. Functional utility flaps with easy closures were chosen to allow the wearer protective pockets for essential accessories like cellphones and car keys. The garment can easily be wiped and sanitised upon one’s return from public

Philosophical motivations?

In times of desperation, newspapers and other media can further alienate humans from one another. We decided to take cuttings from newspapers headlines over the past months and to re-organise them in a way that is constructive and positive. We explored philosophical concepts relating to Superiority/Inferiority amongst human beings, Sustainability for our planet and the fashion Industry, Equality between Races and Oneness, instead of Selfishness.

LOOT LOVE in VIVIERS Studio refashioned plastic

In short

What it is: Utilitarian and protective outer-wear garment that can be worn outside during Covid-19, yet it will remain relevant as a water-resistant raincoat after the pandemic.

Composition: Disposable Sterilisation’ light-blue medical fabric. Woven plastic bags that are strong enough to carry wood. U-Cook Ziplock bags. Computer packaging

What to do with it: Wear it as you wish. If you’re short use the belt! The garment can be wiped easily and sanitised upon one’s return from a public outing.


Hat : @therealcrystalbirch
Lanyard: @notjustacreator
Bag: @oneiam_
Make-up: @mubi_mua
Photography: @dsd_danielle

  • You can read about the #RefashionPlastic project here.
  • Design collaborator, Onesimo Bam here.
  • Design collaborator, Crystal Birch here.
  • Design collaborator, Hamzeh Alfaraneh here. 
  • Design collaborator Our Workshop here.


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