It started with a phone call and a rather strange request: André Desmul, a former Quadrant EPP AG employee, contacted the company in Tielt, Belgium; he wanted to come with Elfie, the daughter of one of his colleagues, to look at plastic swarfs.

Elfie is a student at the Art Academy of Sint-Niklaas (Belgium) where she attends a class in fashion design. Her latest assignment was to create an outfit made of recyclable material.

Elfie’s initial idea was to work with metal swarfs, which she had already seen thanks to her father, but she was advised that these could be dangerous and that plastic swarfs might be a better alternative for her application.

When I first saw her, it was during her second visit to the TC; she was carrying a huge sports bag full of plastic swarfs. Taking them out of the bag, she carefully rearranged them and, to our utter amazement, was suddenly holding in front of us what actually looked like a skirt and a sleeveless blouse — completely made of plastic! We were all in awe at witnessing what she had been able to do with material intended for the recycling bin.

When she first started to work with the material, Elfie faced the challenge of finding a way to make all the long and curly strings hold together. After some trials, she ended up knitting and weaving them. She said the knitting was not very easy initially, but once she got the hang of it, it became a fun production process.

Elfie earned first prize with her outfit for creativity marks. So, maybe there is a great future in plastics — in the world of haute couture.

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