Paying homage to 40 years of the airbag’s patent, Heron Preston has teamed up with one luxury car brand to push the boundaries of innovation and sustainability in fashion.
It goes without saying that stepping out of a luxury car looks better when you’re dressed head to toe in an equally drippy, designer outfit to match – just ask Kylie Jenner next time you see her.
But what if I told you that the same components used to produce a Mercedes Benz could be upcycled to design an on-trend puffer jacket or sustainably made monochromatic tracksuit?
Well, Heron Preston, street style kingpin and business partner of both Kanye West and Virgil Abloh, has launched an innovative collaboration with Mercedes to do just that.
Like us here at Thred, Preston is acutely aware of the environmentally damaging consequences of the fashion industry he makes his millions from. For this reason, he took on the challenge of developing a new clothing line using materials from a truly unexpected source.
The American-based designer spent time in Mercedes Benz factories, scouting for parts of the luxury car that could be repurposed for practical, but eye catching fashion pieces.
What Preston discovered was that safety airbags – which inflate to protect drivers and passengers in the event of a crash – could be incorporated into bomber jackets for instant volume or minimization depending on the wearer’s desired look.
Once he got his hands on the durable, weighty material, he began drawing parallels to the workwear fabrics used in some of his earlier work. To him, the answer was obvious.
The discovery resulted in hundreds of Mercedes Benz airbags being sewen up to create Heron Preston’s new collection. The material – taken from used crash test vehicles in Germany – were largely unaltered and undyed to preserve the genuine look and feel of the product.
Speaking of the new collection, Preston said, ‘98% of what you see is authentic to the actual airbags. I preserved as much as I could; I didn’t want to change too much. I kept the integrity all there.’
Unbothered by the logo-craze we’ve seen many brands adopt lately, Preston’s designs were driven by the idea of creating timeless pieces that could be worn all year round – and for years to come.
Many of the pieces are surprisingly low-key, only adorned with a single iconic logo from the luxury car brand. Better yet, each piece of the collection is one of a kind and will be given away on fashion retailer GOAT’s website, in a raffle that begins on September 10th.
Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen high-end fashion brands collaborate with car manufacturers to develop clothing for those who are looking to match their drip with their whip.
Recently, Rhude launched an 80s inspired ready-to-wear McLaren collection. Hermes designed a deliciously cream-coloured, cashmere panelled Bugatti. Clearly, the fashion industry’s links with the luxury motors world are getting stronger.
That said, few have done what Heron Preston has done, by using elements of the car itself to create on-trend pieces that are durable enough to last for years – all in the name of sustainability.
In a statement on Instagram the designer said: ‘The common values that we share of reducing our impact on the planet and considering materials that may otherwise end up in a landfill is what makes this project incredibly special to me. Thanks to @mercedesbenz for joining my less environmentally destructive journey!’
For aspiring, young designers around the world (and those already in the business of fashion) Heron Preston’s collaboration has shown that fabrics for clothing can be found in some of the least likely places, if one only dares to look.
With pressure mounting on the industry to become more environmentally friendly, let’s hope we see more sustainable innovation like this from fashion houses in the future.
I’m Jessica (She/Her), a writer at Thred. I moved to London to complete a master’s degree in Media and Communications after spending two years working in fashion PR in Amsterdam. Follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn and drop me some ideas/feedback via email.
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