The Unwearable Collection™
A fashion line based on the experiences of patients living with generalized pustular psoriasis (GPP)
Welcome to The Unwearable Collection™, a fashion line no one would dare to wear, but some have no choice.
Created by internationally renowned artist and textile designer Bart Hess and inspired by the lived experiences of those with generalized pustular psoriasis (GPP).
GPP is a rare, lifelong, and potentially life-threatening skin disease that is characterized by flares that appear all over the body as painful, pus-filled blisters. The symptoms can include fever, headaches, extreme tiredness, a burning sensation on the skin, and impact the mental health of people living with the condition due to the social stigma and emotional burden of GPP.
To bring the reality of GPP to life, Boehringer Ingelheim collaborated with Bart Hess, and people living with GPP to create The Unwearable Collection™, a four-piece collection that visualizes the experiences of a GPP flare, through design.
Each mannequin represents a different key GPP experience: the physical pain, the pain of isolation, the life-threatening nature of the condition, and the intensity of a flare. Find out more below and hear from Bart Hess about his inspiration for this unique project.
The four individual collection pieces were inspired by the real-life stories of people living with GPP: Christine, Brandon, and Dale. Each person provided their own individual experience of the disease that Bart Hess interpreted and crafted into physical figures.
Pain of Isolation
Using sharp glass, Bart Hess created this outfit to represent the physical and emotional distance GPP caused between Christine and her family. During a severe flare, Christine will be unable to pick up her daughter due to the pain.
Sharp wooden shards were used to emulate the feeling of “thousands of paper cuts” to which Dale compared his GPP flares to.
Hundreds of blades and knives were used in this imposing design to show the life-threatening nature of the disease, inspired by Christine comparing the pain of a GPP flare to being stabbed repeatedly.
Figurative, and poetic, Bart Hess brought the intensity of Brandon’s GPP flares to life by using brightly colored foil that sweeps upwards, representing Brandon’s use of the term “wildfire” when describing the symptoms of a flare.
About Bart Hess
Bart Hess (pictured above with Christine, living with GPP) is an internationally renowned designer with exhibits across the world. His work explores several fields combining material studies, animation, and photography in a surrealist manner to tell real-life stories through his art and designs.
Because of his creative perspective and ability to bridge the relationship between materials and the body, Boehringer Ingelheim chose to partner with Bart to uniquely bring to life how severe GPP can be – using a medium that many people can relate to: clothing. After hearing about the experiences of people living with GPP, Bart Hess crafted art pieces that depict the different types of pain that the disease causes through using diverse materials, like glass and knives. These pieces form the centrepiece artworks for The Unwearable Collection™.