Body Tape Bikinis, Has Fashion Gone Too Far?

Yes, you read that correctly… body tape bikinis are a thing. Some fashion trends are controversial but wearing tape instead of clothes has got people thinking, has fashion gone too far?

Model wearing design from Black Tape Project. Photo credit: Lost at E Minor

Cuban-American designer Joel Alvarez is responsible for the new trend of wearing tape instead of clothes and I’m just as confused as you are. The Black Tape Project is his latest expression of art that sees body tape replacing actual fabric. Alvarez started from humble beginnings and taught himself the skills of photography and art in an attempt to make something of himself.

The idea for body tape was a four-year long project that came about almost accidentally. Alvarez describes on The Black Tape Project that when he was completing a photo shoot in 2008, the model suggested he use tape for the last look. Criticising his final work on the model and likening it to a “Christmas ham” he states how “it sparked an idea in my head to develop this idea,”. Jump to 2012 and Alvarez was being recognised, selling his creations to numerous night clubs in Miami. Last year The Black Tape Project made its way into Miami Swim Week and New York Fashion Week, catapulting its fame. During the recent Ultra Music Festival in Miami this month, numerous models were seen wearing Alvarez’s creations and there has been an automatic frenzy of response to the controversial designs.

The design sounds more like an art piece than an outfit and many are questioning the practicality of wearing the tape. There were hundreds of comments from the latest Ultra festival circulating on Instagram with many in disbelief. describe how people were asking questions in response to Instagram posts such as “How do they go to the toilet?”, “How do you tape the private part?” and “Does it hurt to take off?”. The idea of taking off the tape is cringe worthy enough for me to say no but with numerous influencers endorsing the brand, will this trend stick?

Initially starting with black electrical tape, Alvarez’s designs have expanded to a range of colours including gold, silver, pink, red and blue, and can all be bought from his website from as little as $24.99. Remembering this is just tape and we could probably head down to Bunnings and make our own version of the bikini for a much cheaper price.

His designs feature hundreds of tiny cut out pieces of tape, combined with longer strips leaving little to the imagination. Alvarez’s Instagram account for the brand has 368 000 followers and features hundreds of posts of female models wearing nothing but tape. It also showcases videos of Alvarez working on his models, something he did during the Miami Swim Week Fashion Show, as he continued to create an outfit whilst the model was standing on the runway.

Alvarez taping a model during Black Tape Project fashion show. Photo credit: Gladstone Observer

These designs, whilst being extremely creative, are also quite inappropriate and could only be worn by those fortunate enough to look like a size 6. Imagine walking down the beach in nothing but tape! Swimming is surely out of the question, not to mention the uneven tan lines you’d receive.

Alvarez’s designs are definitely creative and well executed but are flawed. It’s hard to get past the thought of just what happens when you take off the tape that’s covering some quite delicate areas. There’s also the question of whether this counts as fashion? Using tape as a substitute for actual clothing is such a foreign concept, it’s quite hard to accept it. Personally, the tape is not something you’d see me wearing anytime soon, I dread taking off a band-aid and don’t think I could quite manage the aftermath of the tape body suit. However, fashion will always be experimental and for some, wearing tape is as normal as wearing a dress. Just be sure to go to the toilet before applying…

Check out Joel Alvarez’s designs live in action!

Let us know what you think of duct tape ‘kinis in the comments!