Wearable of the Week # 11 Celebrating the zipper

Wearable of the Week # 11 Celebrating the zipper

This week’s wearable is for all those city slickers who have made their way to work today through the mist and the rain with their umbrellas intact!

City Lolita by Deborah Shepherd, New Zealand, 2012. World of WearableArt™. Photograph by Daniel Allen.

Fashion tutor Deborah Shepherd won the World of WearableArt™ Sustainability Award with this unique take on the sharp city suit, which features hundreds of discarded zippers painstakingly stitched together to form pinstripes and ruffles. She made the work in celebration of the invention of the zip – or ‘separable fastener’, commenting:  ‘As 2013 marks the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the zipper, it seemed appropriate to pay homage to Gideon Sundback, the inventor’.  

Gideon Sundback was a Swedish-born engineer who worked for the Universal Fastener Company in Ontario, USA. While working for the company in 1913, he set about improving one of his boss’ inventions – the ‘clasp-locker’ – and also developed a machine to mass produce it. Ten years later, the industrialist B. F. Goodrich, coined the onomatopoeic term ‘zipper’ for Sundback’s wonderful invention.

All Shepherd’s City Lolita needs now perhaps is this Zip Bag from Te Papa’s collection to add a little bit of colour to her day.

Zip bag by Vita Cochran, 2004. Purchased 2004. Te Papa

 ‘Wearable of the Week’ is posted in conjunction with The WOW Factor: 25 Years in the Making, which is on display at Te Papa until 17 August 2014. For more on the World of WearableArt™ visit WOW® online.


  1. Hi, I am trying to contact Debbie Shepherd (from England) do you have an e-mail for her. If you cannot give details could you please pass mine on to her.
    Thank you
    Keith Clarkson

  2. loving the zip bag, who wouldn’t walk around with a big smile on their face with that bag on their arm, excellent

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