WONDERLAND: Plastics is Precious: The disappearing dresses

Trish Belford Trish Belford, Professor Helen Storey Helen Storey, Professor Tony Ryan Tony Ryan

Research output: Non-textual formArtefact

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Wonderland a collaborative project with Professor Tony Ryan OBE (PVC for the faculty of Pure Science, Sheffield University) and Professor Helen Storey MBE (UCL) created the world's first disappearing dress. Its fundamental message was to think about new solutions for the problem of excess packaging and waste. The science and concept were conceived by Professor Ryan and Storey, the dresses being the metaphor and Trojan horse delivering a powerful symbolic message and means of stimulating public debate about how science and art can work together to look at new solutions to world problems. The dresses were designed and created under the direction of Trish Belford, many years of technical print and design skills combined with high tech resources at the University of Ulster resulted in groundbreaking textiles, making plastic look beautiful, but by its disappearance left the viewer with a despair at its waste. Wonderland toured the UK, was seen on the runway in the US, and engaged in educational workshops. Several films of Wonderland including 'Wonderland' by Nick Knight and SHOWstudio were shown. The work attempts to show that Plastics are Precious and are described by Tony Ryan as "buried sunshine". This project is an example of art, science and technology, in action and shows that if society can embrace science, it can influence science and the results benefit everyone.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOrmeau Baths Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2008

Bibliographical note

Educational workshops with Schools in Northern Ireland were held throughout the show.(see image)
This exhibition was also shown in Sheffield and London.
Fashion Show in Boston USA July 31st 2006
100% Design London. Materials 18-21st Sept 2008
Educational workshop collaboration with CYP (Creative Youth Partnerships) funded by Cultural Development for the Rags to Riches programme.(attached)
Exhibition viewing figures are:
Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast. Oct 8th - Nov 8th 2008 Audience 3.022
Meadow Hall Shopping Centre Sheffield June 18th - July 13th 2008 the collective live audience was 1.9 million.
Sainsbury's HQ Holborn, London August 4th-August 8th 2008 Audience size 2.400
Press figures: see excell document attached
Outputmediatype: Textile dresses (x6)


  • art
  • science
  • plastics
  • textiles
  • fashion.oil
  • sunshine
  • dissolvable


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