Printing 'paper couture' for the runway

Paper couture showcased by Fuji Xerox

Despite not having gone to fashion school, Mr Alex Kwok designed three dresses for the first time and brought them to life on a fashion runway - all in under three weeks.

And it looked like a scene out of an "unconventional materials challenge" episode from US reality TV fashion competition Project Runway - as the outfits were made out of normal printing paper.

Mr Kwok's "paper couture" was showcased at last month's inaugural Innovation Re:Mix Forum's Fashion Runway event at Sands Expo & Convention Centre, and was borne out of his desire to push boundaries and develop fresh angles when presenting new launches as Fuji Xerox Singapore's senior innovation specialist.

According to Ms Adeline Goh, 38, Fuji Xerox's Singapore's head of product and solutions marketing, the three dresses highlight the strengths of the print solutions company's next-generations printer series - Fuji Xerox Primelink 9065/9075, Fuji Xerox B9 and Fuji Xerox Irridese.

Mr Kwok's favourite creation is the Irridesse, an iridescent, mermaid-inspired evening gown. Its highly reflective metallic colours change with the light variance and viewing point.

The Hong Kong-born 58-year-old, who has worked at Fuji Xerox Singapore for 11 years, told The New Paper: "I was very confident in designing it. It really exceeded my expectations. It was what I envisioned and more."

The most challenging dress was the Warhol, which featured a splash of pop art red and bold designs.

The piecing of the parts was a feat in itself, as Mr Kwok and his team of four struggled to handle the layers and folding of paper with much care.

Along with stitching and sewing, simple items like glue, double-sided tape, velcro and Scotch Tape were used to hold the clothes together.

Much skill and caution was also required in adjusting the dresses when it was discovered during the final fitting that the models had lost weight and their measurements changed, said Mr Kwok. "It's not like cloth, where it's more malleable and easier to work with," he added.

And while a trial-and-error process was inevitable, there was minimal wastage of paper.

Ms Goh said the dresses will be displayed at Fuji Xerox Singapore's showroom, adding: "Although seeing real clothes made of paper may not be possible now, we still want people to extend their imagination - that paper can be brought onto the runway."