Eco fashion – turning trash into trends

Penny Newton

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Laura Wells from BGM Models shows off a bikini made from plastic bags Photo: Monika Anna Creative

When eco artist Angela Von Boxtel sees plastic bags strewn across the beach, she doesn’t see rubbish, she sees material for her next project.

“I’ve always been interested in exploring ‘waste’ materials,” she told Yahoo!7. “Things other people throw out, I call them precious resources.”

Ocean-loving Angela, who started out by crocheting old textiles such as shirts, nets, curtains and even video tape, transforms plastic bags into art and fashion as a way to help spread the message about plastic pollution to a larger audience.

And she hopes the bespoke bikini crocheted from plastic bags for top plus size model and environmental scientist Laura Wells will help do exactly that.

"We create close to 300 million new tonnes of plastic every year and most of this material goes straight into single use disposable items,” says Laura. Photo: Monika Anna Creative

“Plastic bags are one of the big issues for our environment,” says Angela, who documents her projects and other ideas on her blog greenwithenvyideas. “And single use plastic, such as shopping bags and rubbish bags are the easiest to eliminate.”

“We have to stop sending them to landfill. Australians use in excess of six billion plastic bags per year. If tied together these bags would form a chain that is long enough to go around the world 37 times.”

“We can’t continue on like that, especially since it has been proven that less then 1 per cent of these bags get recycled! I support a total ban, as that is the only answer.”

As for the bikini, Angela says rather than being a functional piece of clothing it’s more of a conversation starter to encourage people to think about where plastic bags end up.

“I have tested it in the sea but I don’t encourage it,” she says.

“I had lots of compliments during the photo shoot,” adds Laura, who recently ran 140kms across Tasmania’s Tarkine rainforest with Responsible Runners. “Women seemed genuinely amazed when I told them it was made from garbage.”

Angela hopes her crocheted bikini will encourage people to think about 'single use' plastic items Photo: Monika Anna Creative

“If we can open the eyes of a new audience to the issue of plastic pollution, we are one small step closer to spinning this planet back into shape,” adds Angela.

Angela, who has made bowls, bags, jewelry and large sculptures such as floating mandalas is now working towards a fashion show of ‘waste-woven’ cossies and board shorts.

For more information on Angela’s designs visit

For more information on Laura Wells, visit