Papercraft Dresses


Written by Tshepo Mokoena
20 Monday 20th June 2011
This level of design is sort of a massive step-up from paper cranes you may have folded in arts and crafts at school. We're talking papercraft fashion here, where beautiful (if hugely impractical) dresses and accesories are made solely from that one material we so often overlook. We already have a soft spot for papercraft books but this takes it to the next level by adding wearability and an architectural nod to Japanese origami techniques. Everyone talks and stresses about how fashion always seems to rehash the same ideas every decade or so, and we thought we'd take a look at some of the best new concepts in the papercraft couture world. Get those old mags out, and take note.
Main image by Amila Hrustic
Getting 'luxury' paper to look more like silk than your printer's leftovers is the domain of sculptor and artist Zoe Bradley. She goes for large-scale work, creating huge towering dresses to use in window displays and advertising campaigns. We figured we'd throw you in right at the deep end if you were thinking of a bit of a DIY project: this isn't for the faint-hearted/fearful of papercuts.
Bradley has already moulded giant pieces for the likes of Harvey Nichols, McQueen, On/Off and Michiko. Along the lines of work by Su Blackwell she uses her artistic background to bring a certain luxe effect to papercraft. Anyone who's seen those giant paper dress sculptures in the foyer of Manhattan's Macy's will know just what experiencing this scale feels like.
In a similar vein sits the work of duo Alexandra Zaharova and Ilya Plotnikov. They got a spread in L'Officiel magazine for this papercraft mini-line of dresses, all based on the crisp tailoring and smooth lines of black tie wear. Granted none of these look likely to last a single drop of spilled food or drink at the dinner party they seem perfect for, but are a great testament to the stiff and structured part of papercraft. This is less about those little origami details as the concept of an almost seamless garment. Zaharova has done some solo work on the bowtie-heavy series below which only the bravest will be wearing into a wet winter this year.
On almost the opposite end of the spectrum we've got the good old loo roll and newspaper designers. Unlike the luxe cut and fold crew, this lot are all about reusing the kinds of paper you'd typically find around the house and at the office. This newspaper dress by Jolis Paons is a pretty great example of just how much difference a pleat makes when it comes to translating the news into fashion terms.
The work of Christopher Nevin is similarly structural, relying on tight folds and voluminous swells to create form and line. At the risk of ripping your outfit on a protruding corner, papercraft dresses at least show the power of attention to detail. Practical they are not, but hey, didn't people say the same about stilettos and clutch bags? That certainly hasn't stopped the trendy types yet, so don't look too surprised if you see paper creations like this out and about on the driest of summer days. White is the season's colour, after all.

Don't Panic attempt to credit photographers and content owners wherever possible, however due to the sheer size and nature of the internet this is sometimes impractical or impossible. If you see any images on our site which you believe belong to yourself or another and we have incorrectly used it please let us know at and we will respond asap.


  • Guest: mmvip
    Sat 25 - Jun - 2011, 10:32
    can not believe the amount of work that has gone into these!! They are amazing! boxhead the zombie wars
  • Guest: gloriutza86
    Thu 23 - Jun - 2011, 12:28
    very nice. the students of ASAUIM school of architecture in bucharest made a similar project this year.