Love Aesthetics

September 9, 2017

Plastic not so fantastic


image and text / by Ivania


Its see-through-ness and the way it reflects light is similar to liquid.
Matte variants look like a surface of frosted water. It is bendable, sewable, foldable, scrunchable. It is light enough to float in the wind, yet strong enough to carry a kilo of oranges.

Plastic was a big part of the futuristic vision in sixties design. Also, plastic is a symbol of cheapness, replicas and fake products. At the same time a plastic wrap means something is fresh, new and hygienic. Plastic is the squeaky sound of a plastic covered couch. Barbie is. Plastic is treated as worthless and disposable. Plastic represents so much of our consumer culture.

I am in love with PVC clear boots and clear market bags. And with plastic in industrial settings, in construction settings. And Raf’s plastic covered Calvin Klein coats inspired by those couch-covers. Hello, my name is Ivania and I am an addict.

My obsession with plastic is paradoxical.


A product of the oil industry. Nasty to produce and nasty to consume. The toxic smell when unwrapping something new that contains plastic reminds us that it is suffocating our beautiful planet.

Being busy declining straws at restaurants and plastic bags at shops. Being proud to have never bought into the loads of plastic toys for our kid. Separating trash in about 7 categories and knowing that even the little plastic foil around my veggies will be recycled – eases my sense of guilt, a bit.

Meanwhile, the keys I am typing on right now are plastic. My nylon stockings are plastic. The clip on my bra is plastic. The cover of the book I am currently reading is water repellent, meaning it is covered with thin plastic. The light switches are plastic. All chargers, wires, electronics; plastic. It is a shapeshifting material that seems to always sneak into our lives. Impossible to get away from.

Plastic is really not that fantastic.


Let’s take a little detour, back to the Margiela show. Imagine the fashion elite streaming down the marble stairs into the impressive Palais de Chaillot. Floor to ceiling windows open, letting in a breeze, warm afternoon sunlight and the sight of the Eiffel Tower only a few meters away. The international high society were greeted with a tray of champagne in the cheapest of cups. The white, plastic, disposable ones.

Those humble cups in that decadent setting seemed to point out a lot of things. (That Margiela knows that funnest parties are where the alcohol is served in plastic cups?) The difference between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those people had never taken a sip out of a plastic cup. But also that Maison Martin Margiela was aware that the clothes and ideas that they were about to show on the runway would be treated just as disposably as those plastic cups.

I loved it. In that context, the cups instantly gained art status and were serving critical commentary as well as good champaign. I couldn’t wait to participate and grabbed two. Cheers to Margiela.


I can find myself in this ironic sense of humor. It is a way of being aware about ourselves, in this case what we consume, buy and throw in the trash. In that plastic trash there is also a lot of beauty. For example that those plastic bottles and cups are archetypes of good design. That the almost-indestructible material plastic allows it to be reappropriated. That it can return into your life and onto the dinner table in the form of for example a wine glass and an item to be discussed.



4 responses to “Plastic not so fantastic”

  1. I love your sensitive views on things we might miss in daily life. You really do pay attention to the details!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  2. Yooying says:

    Love your post. The feeling of mine towards plastic is the same, love and hate. Although I hate it but I could imagine how hard life is without plastic.

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