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Chinese Designer Creates Condom Dress to Raise HIV/AIDS Awareness

A self-taught fashion designer and grandmother creates a gorgeous dress — made of 3,000 unused condoms — to help promote HIV/AIDS awareness in China.

Zhang Qiao, a 54-year-old retired grandmother from Sanmenxia, China, was inspired by a woman she had met who was living with HIV to help raise awareness of the condition and promote prevention. The self-taught fashion designer and seamstress did so by creating a spectacular gown made of 3,000 condoms.

Zhang is no stranger to helping others and raising awareness, and has done so many times in her life — especially after going through a bout with breast cancer eight years ago. After her recovery, she wanted to use her skills to help people in her community. Since, Zhang has sewn thousands of shoe soles for people in need, and also started designing environmentally friendly clothes to promote low-carbon emission living. 


Zhang now specializes in making outfits out of things that would normally be thrown away. “The materials are the key to my outfits,” said Zhang. She has made over thirty environmental friendly outfits now and says she will continue to do so to promote awareness of different issues.

Upon receiving criticism questioning whether or not the gown was hygienic, Zhang said, “I collected the unused and expired condoms after they were left over from a previous public awareness campaign,” she said. “I spent about a week ripping them open and attaching them to the dress. The hardest part to deal with was the excess of oils and lubricants,” she recently told Chinese website

Because of its beauty and its message, the dress has been receiving lots of attention since its debut last month at an eco fashion show. Zhang hopes that her creation will help continue to bring attention, awareness, and understanding to the issue of HIV/AIDS in her homeland of China, where she says the condition is still a taboo subject and highly stigmatized.




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