Body art pioneer and fashionista Joel Alvarez focuses on one, simple concept: tape as clothes. Sprouted from a random fashion model’s last-minute idea, Alvarez ran with it. And the idea has caught on with so much popularity that he had an entire fashion show during New York Fashion Week. His show featured models wearing nothing but “sex tape” on the runway.
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Alvarez’s concept has been dubbed “The Black Tape Project” and it’s selling out everywhere. It’s more artistic than it may initially seem, too. Alvarez uses the tape like body paint, where each piece is conscientiously and meticulously laid to be part of a larger design. Additionally, the artist has come up with tape of different colors and tape that has its own accessories, like metal studs.
During NYFW, Alvarez showcased a new swimwear line at the Angel Orensanz Center in Manhattan. Models wore black and white tape-based swimwear designed with a “Spartan” motif.
Joel Alvarez, aka “The King of Tape,” is a first-generation Cuban American who was living out of his car and desperately struggling when he bought a camera. One thing led to another, and after a model asked him to use gold-colored electrical tape for a shoot, he went viral. Now, he’s got an entire fashion empire built on body tape.
You can actually buy this tape for your own clothing aspirations as well. A basic black roll of skin-safe artistic body tape runs for $9.99 on The Black Tape Project’s website. There are gorgeous, iridescent rolls of different colors than run as high as $29.99. The site claims that the average body will require two rolls of tape to achieve the full “bodysuit” design showcased on its models.
Alvarez advertises his tape as the “most expensive body art in the world” and “the only safe artistic body tape.” His project uses the motto “Empowering women since 2008.”
The Black Tape Project also offers body tape Master Classes. A 4-hour session costs $400 and an 8-hour class is $750. Current offerings are based in Miami.
Watch one of The Black Tape Project’s full Miami fashion shows from earlier this year below.