TikTok user and UCLA student Shay Rose created a pink social-distancing dress made of tulle that is, in fact, six-feet wide on each side. The 12-foot project took two months, and was done from home while quarantining in Southern California. Even though Shay has many design creations to be proud of, all of which you can see via video on her account, this gown makes a statement about our society and forces us to consider how far six-feet apart actually is. At the same time, it also speaks to our desire for fantasy and whimsical dresses during this time of unrest – perhaps even to the future of fashion. Shay spoke to POPSUGAR about her project, explaining that she had the idea for a social-distancing dress in the back of her mind since the summer. “What if there was a dress that made a social-distancing bubble all around you?” she wondered.
“I hope [this dress] helps others to really visualize how big six feet is; to give them a frame of reference for what it means to social distance.
Shay went with pink tulle simply because the color is princess-like. She bought six bolts of pink tulle from a wholesale supply store (costing $6 per bolt of 40 yards), commonly visited for wedding decorations. The skirt is made from hooping wire sourced from a corset supply store, and Shay confirmed this was the most expensive part of the dress, although it can be reused. “It actually took me three different attempts to figure out how to make the dress 12 feet across without it collapsing on itself. In the end, I built a PVC base with little wheels on it that rolls around under the dress and supports the structure,” she explained of the bottom portion of the dress, which she completed before moving on to the simpler bodice and completing the look with a matching face mask.
Even though the dress is huge and took over an hour to set up on location before her photo shoot (it needs to be disassembled to fit in a car and then reassembled after), it’s actually pretty lightweight. Shay described it not as heavy, but clunky to walk around in due to the PVC base. It seems as though the stop-and-go strut was worth it to give this dress the attention it deserves. Shay has already received DMs from people asking if she’ll design custom 12-foot dresses for fans and followers, but Shay is a full-time student and understandably needs a break from sewing tulle at the moment.
“This dress was a way for me to creatively explore a concept that’s been surrounding all our lives – the necessity for social distancing, rather than fashion, in the pandemic. While this is a lighthearted project, I hope it helps others to really visualize how big six feet is; to give them a frame of reference for what it means to social distance. Yes, this pandemic obviously sucks, but social distancing is important to keep our community safe, and since we can’t change that, we can at least do our best to be creative with it and have fun with it,” Shay said.
Ahead, watch Shay’s TikTok videos documenting her process and enjoy some behind-the-scenes shots she sent over.