Lauren Biritz: Times Square

Artist Statement

My primary goal for this design was to showcase how unconventional materials can be given a second life through fashion. In my digital design course in the Fall of 2022, I was tasked to develop a digital concept for a sustainable apparel line. This led me to explore vinyl billboards and how they can be reused for apparel. Through my research, I discovered that about 25 million square meters of billboard fabric waste is generated annually in the U.S. While billboard vinyl can be recycled infinitely, they are still dumped into landfills and never break down. 

Since billboard vinyl is specifically designed to withstand harsh outdoor weather conditions, upcycling it when it reaches its intended end of life can create incredibly durable apparel products, limit landfill waste, and reduce pollution. Still fascinated by billboard vinyl after the semester ended, I decided to actualize my digital concept by purchasing a billboard. 

Times Square draws inspiration from 1960s styles, specifically the paper dresses, the space race, and mod styles. Featuring an A-line silhouette and color blocking, the dress leverages unique properties of the vinyl and transforms the wearer into an advertisement, reminiscent of Times Square itself. This dress not only highlights the potential for creativity in sustainable design but also emphasizes the need to reduce waste in the fashion industry. Through this dress, I hope to inspire others to think outside of the box, reconsider how they view the materials around them, and contribute to a more sustainable future.

About the Project

  • Title of Work: Times Square
  • Medium: Garment on a dress form
  • Student's Name: Lauren Biritz
  • Major: Textile and Apparel Management
  • Anticipated Graduation Date: 24-May
  • Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri
  • Student's Mentor: Cheyenne Staib
  • Mentor's Department: Textile and Apparel Management