50-Pound Gown a Winner

Rubber flooring, seating textiles comprise a dress for Product Runway you won't believe

Rubber flooring, seating textiles comprise a dress you won't believe

Product Runway Winner, 4/16 Kirksey design
Rubber flooring and seating textiles combine to make this dress the IIDA Product Runway best of show. Courtesy of Kirksey Architecture
Product Runway Winner, 4/16 Kirksey design
Although the model looks graceful, the dress weighs 50 pounds. Courtesy of Kirksey Architecture
Product Runway Winner, 4/16 Kirksey design
The gown required more than 150, round-the-clock man hours to complete. Courtesy of Kirksey Architecture
Product Runway Winner, 4/16 Kirksey design
Product Runway Winner, 4/16 Kirksey design
Product Runway Winner, 4/16 Kirksey design

It was a tough assignment — create a dress inspired by Modernism and Georgia O'Keefe, made from everyday design/architecture materials. But Kirksey Architecture met the challenge and took home Best of Show in the IIDA Product Runway fashion show and competition.

Entries were presented at Revention Music Center in parade of over-the-top creations designed and made by architects and interior design professionals. Inspired by the popular TV show Project Runway, the eighth annual Product Runway served not only as a creative challenge to designers but also as a fundraiser for Houston Furniture Bank.

Each of the 20 competing team was assigned both an "Avant Art" theme and required construction materials — one hard and one soft, which must make up 80 percent of the garment.

The Kirksey gown weighs 50 pounds. No surprise there considering it is composed of 800 rubber tiles (donated by Expanko rubber flooring) that were individually cut and sewn. The "soft" element of the design was a white vinyl from Humanscale that was dyed in various bold colors.

The stand-up collar was made of rubber flooring and lined with 6-gauge copper wire to give it shape. The blue cone shape of the skirt is made from 120 triangles that were cut and sewn. 

“We started with an original sketch and worked more than 150 man-hours around-the-clock in just three weeks to create the dress,” said Laura Vargas, a member of Kirksey’s Science & Technology team. “We are so proud of our entire team – it was definitely a group project.”