The Ultimate Upcycle: Wedding Gowns Made from Parachutes
The practice of “upcycling” has become a trend in recent years for creative fashionistas looking for budget and Earth-friendly ways to create original designs from items that were initially intended for another purpose. Duck Brand tape even has a “Stuck at Prom” contest, where the winner of the most creative upcycled prom dress crafted from duct tape can fetch a $10,000 scholarship.
But the trend of upcycling clothing is not new. During World War II, brides didn’t have the luxury or convenience of online shopping or visiting a fancy bridal shop with limitless designs, styles, and fabrics like we do today. They had no choice but to use whatever material they could get their hands on to create their own wedding dresses.
Back in those days, wedding gowns were often made of silk. Since most of the world’s supply of this fabric came from Japan or China, it was extremely difficult to come by during the war. Precious silk was typically reserved for military use, specifically parachutes. This left industrious and resourceful brides with the option of borrowing a wedding gown from a friend or family member, or having their own custom gowns created from—you guessed it—parachutes! The parachutes used during that era were white, so they were the perfect solution for brides who were in short supply of readily-available fabrics. In fact, some brides even utilized parachutes for their gowns that had once saved their groom’s life during the war. If you have a family member or friend that was married during this era, ask the bride about the story of their wedding dress. There’s a chance it could be an historical keepsake upcycled from a military parachute.
HEAVENDROPt, a social enterprise of Evergreen Life Services, has embraced the spirit of upcycling parachutes by creating unique products ranging from pet bandanas, to masks, hammocks, backpacks, shopping totes, necklaces and more. All of our products are made from official US military parachutes, and are custom made by veterans and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. When you purchase a HEAVENDROPt product made from a parachute, you will not only own a coveted piece of American history, but you are also contributing to our mission of providing meaningful job training and employment for people with disabilities.
To learn more about our mission, view our amazing yet affordable products, and discover how we serve veterans and people with disabilities by providing vocational training through upcycling authentic military parachutes, visit heavendropt.org and evergreenls.org
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