The Making of the #FabulousDressProject

Fashion designer Celeste Arendse and blogger Aisha Baker show us how they stained and washed and wore the perfect white dress using Skip's micro-technology.

Can one white dress keep looking and feeling fabulous even if you stain it on purpose, wash after wash?

Unilever partnered with talented fashion designer Celeste Arendse and fashion blogger Aisha Baker to test whether Skip’s micro-technology can protect the fibre and fabulousness of a treasured garment with the #FabulousDressProject.

It’s not often that an artist gets the chance to create on the same blank canvas again and again – let alone use a dress as the canvas. With one beautiful and versatile white dress, items from the pantry, paintbrushes, and a few events in mind, the team started experimenting with stains.

Each stain chosen was inspired by the event Aisha would wear it to and Celeste, with her creative hand, had no problem depicting a story on cotton.

Each stain wanted to be worked in its own manner: some needed to become a paste and others bled into the material, creating bolder lines.

Every pattern and its respective stain turned into a desirable item – it was sad to lose these pieces of art in the washing machine after all the hard work!

For the dress’s first outing, Aisha had a morning meeting with her colleagues, so coffee and a splash of mustard was chosen as the first stain. Celeste tested different patterns on cotton swatches, making sure the prints fitted the occasion before attempting to stain the dress. She decided on a geometric pattern based on Aztec designs that worked well with the way the fabric absorbed the coffee stains.

Aisha stepped into her coffee date looking fabulous, everyone around her stunned by the result and the beautiful garment.

Afterwards, the dress was soaked in a solution of hot water and Skip Intelligent Washing Powder. Within 10 minutes the washing powder penetrated the fibres and the dress looked brand new. Celeste popped it into the washing machine and a half an hour later, we had a blank canvas ready for the next day.

The second stain presented Celeste with a few challenges.

The tomato sauce dried flaky, the beetroot was hard to control and bled into the cotton, and the mustard too thick.

Nonetheless, Celeste made the best of the medium she had to work with and designed an abstract pattern for the flaps of the dress, creating four different looks that came together as one. The dress took on a new life as Aisha pranced into IYO Burgers to enjoy an evening with her friends.

The next morning the dress was soaked and washed exactly like the first day. Again, every single dot and line disappeared with no effort or scrubbing and the fabric felt as soft as the day it was bought.

The last stain experiment was inspired by Aisha’s MAC shoot with Elle fashion magazine. Celeste, excited about the vivid colours of the eye shadows, started playing with shapes, eyes and lines and created a colourful, bold design. After applying she set it with hairspray, as the eye shadow smudged easily.

After Aisha wore it one last time, the dress was soaked and washed in Skip’s Intelligent Washing Powder in preparation for its final outing in the #FabulousDressProject Exhibition at First Thursdays at Bean There Coffee Company.

The event told the story of the collaboration, showed the behind-the-scenes production, displayed the clean white dress on a mannequin, and showed that Skip takes care of the quality of your beloved garments. Guests had a chance to play with stains and win the original dress by tagging their creative efforts to #FabulousDressProject on Instagram.

Follow #FabulousDressProject for more on the project, or visit Skip’s Facebook page, or find them on Twitter or Instagram: @SkipSouthAfrica.