Food and fashion are the greatest passions in my life, and thankfully there are people out there who love both as much as I do. While many associate fashion with size zero models, some designers have decided that food is in vogue now. They’ve switched from chiffon and silk to lettuce and bread as materials.
New York-based photographer Ted Sabarese shot his Hunger Pains collections, featuring respected designers including Daniel Feld and Wesley Nault of Project Runway. In this project, you can see clothes that are made completely out of food such as bread shoulder pads, waffle pants, a spaghetti top and an artichoke dress. As ridiculous as they sound, all looks are works of art that celebrate food, creativity and hard work.
If you have a sweet tooth, you’d be glad to know that chocolate dresses are trendy too. Last October, the 20th Salon du Chocolat fashion show in Paris turned your childhood dream of living in the world of Hansel and Gretel into reality. It featured models, TV presenters, actresses and singers wearing dresses made of, or decorated with, chocolate. Yes, they even made a 3-D crocodile and stuck it to a costume.
It’d be blasphemous to talk about food fashion without mentioning Lady Gaga’s controversial meat dress. At the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, Lady Gaga wore a dress designed by Franc Fernandez made of raw beef. The dress sparked a huge wave of both positive and negative comments, and unsurprisingly, there’s a Wikipedia page devoted entirely to her dress. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) even released a statement condemning her stunt: “wearing a dress made from cuts of dead cows is offensive enough to bring comment.”
It’s interesting to note that before Lady Gaga wore her meat dress, PETA created an ad Let Vegetarianism Grow on You in Times Square, showcasing Cloris Leachman—a 82-year-old vegetarian—wearing a dress made by red cabbage and leaf lettuce.
Regardless of food fashion’s intended message and outcome, using food as materials for gowns and pants is still little problematic. It’s great that designers are celebrating food with their designs, that PETA is promoting vegetarianism with the lettuce dress and that Salon du Chocolat is performing a Willy Wonka style of food magic, but it’s just a little too decadent to me that we use food to make dresses when 2.6 million children die from hunger-related causes every year. Even though I love fashion and food, it feels like a waste when we imagine how a perfectly edible chocolate dress just melts in the model’s sweat. Perhaps it’s the two-year-old who just got yelled at for playing with leftover carrots in me talking, but wearing food might not be a good idea after all.