Bubble wrap gets its runway moment

Who: Osteoporosis Canada and Edelman Canada.

What: “Bübl (pronounced “booble”) x David Dixon,” a fashion show of real clothing made from bubble wrap by esteemed Canadian fashion designer David Dixon.

When & Where: The clothing line was worn by models at Toronto Fashion Week’s x RE\SET runway event, which took place Feb. 5 at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). The collection can also be viewed at BüblFashion.ca, and select pieces are on display at Toronto’s Yorkville Village (55 Avenue Rd.).

OSTEOPOROSIS CANADA48420.jpgWhy: This was an awareness stunt to remind people that osteoporosis is a condition that leads to easily broken bones—in extreme cases, something as innocuous as a sneeze can be the cause. And bubble wrap exists to make it harder for things to be broken.

A health organization and fashion week? Seems a bit like mixing socks and sandals: Not surprisingly, Osteoporosis Canada initially had some reservations about a sponsorship play built around fashion. “They loved the notion behind it, but they said ‘How’s this going to work, we’ve never done anything like this before?'” said Edelman’s chief creative officer, Andrew Simon. “It’s a health oriented organization and they’ve got to play it safe, so we took our time to talk it through and make sure it made sense. We weren’t just creating something flashy for the sake of it, we wanted to make it part of a broader conversation. It’s actually fashionable to take care of your bones.”

What else: The Bübl website contains a quiz, “Know Your Risk,” that asks people about their family history, alcohol intake, calcium intake etc. to determine risks for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is known as the “silent thief” because it can cause bones to deteriorate for several years with no symptoms prior to a break.

The facts about osteoporosis: It causes between 70% and 90% of the 30,000 hip fractures in Canada each year; as of 2010, the total annual cost to the Canadian healthcare system of treating osteoporosis and the fractures it causes was over $2.3 billion.

And we quote: “We are on a mission to make Canadians unbreakable. Osteoporosis affects two million Canadians, including many young people that do not realize the risks they face; so, it is imperative that we reach a new generation and younger audience.” —Dr. Famida Jiwa, president and CEO, Osteoporosis Canada.

The bare bones #1: One of the ideas Dixon submitted was a piece that incorporated bone x-rays. Edelman initially requested six to 10 looks, but Dixon ultimately ended up designing 18 pieces for the runway.

The bare bones #2: That the event took place at the ROM, beneath the shadow of the museum’s distinctive dinosaur bones, provided a nice bit of symbiosis for the introduction of an initiative built around bone health, said Simon.



Chris Powell