See and be seen

The notion of a garment or accessory which is see-though is contrary to the usual idea of something which is designed to cover the body.  This see-through aspect draws attention to what lies beneath.  It allows the wearer to celebrate or highlight rather than conceal aspects of the body.

The flexible, lightweight nature of the plastics used for rainwear provides a convenient way of covering up and protecting, without hiding other clothes or hair styles.  Humour is introduced into garments for inclement weather by adding a print to the surface, as in the rain drops of the 1960s rain coat and hood (1), made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The added textile trim to the Daily Style rain coat (2) reinforces the seams and outlines the body. The colourful PVC umbrella provides shelter whilst allowing the user to see and still be seen (3)


Plastics materials used for footwear need to be robust whilst offering a degree of flexibility and comfort.  Colourless PVC is used to good effect for the Jelly Jolly boots (4), allowing the wearer to display their decorative socks.  The Sapathila pumps by Melissa (5) are made from Melflex, a patented, hypo-allergic, recyclable and extremely flexible PVC.  Their colourless and open nature gives the illusion of being barefoot, whilst providing protection.  The pair of wedge heel mules (6) use the strength of injection moulded polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA or acrylic) to provide a high, almost invisible heel.


Different treatments of transparent acrylic are used in a wide range of jewellery and accessory pieces.  Carving gives an illusion of crystal like glass as in the Wilardy clutch bag (7), the user of which is required to make a very careful selection of its contents as they are on view.  Reverse carving and highlighting with colour gives an appearance of a three dimensional object suspended in this 1940s brooch (8) and colour and gold leaf has been added during the casting process to the Cicada brooch by Pat Thornton (9).  The club wear choker by William Drabble (10) uses acrylic rod and ultra violet reactive acrylic sheet to add drama under UV light.