Pia Interlandi

Funerals can be made eco-friendly in a number of ways from the simple choice to select a natural burial ground to the more uncommon ritual of composting a corpse. Now, there’s a fairly simple way to go just a bit greener at a funeral and that’s with biodegradable garments.

Australian fashion designer, Pia Interlandi recently designed a collection of eco-friendly funeral garments and soon has plans to open up an online store on her website.

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Interlandi was inspired to “dress the dead” by her experiences clothing her grandfather for his funeral.

“A few years ago I had the privilege of dressing my Nonno for his funeral, an experience that changed my entire perception of the manner in which we can grieve. Instead of it being a scary and morbid experience I realised I had been given opportunity to usher this proud, strong and traditional man, who had been stripped of those qualities in his last days and had died in a hospital gown, back into something not only he was more familiar with, but that my Nonna, his wife of 60 years, would remember as the last thing she saw him in. And that the honor of doing so, was entirely beautiful,” Interlandi wrote on her website.

According to NY Daily News, Interlandi was baffled by the thought that people should wear the same clothes on their death bed as they do life.

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“Momentous occasions of ritual and ceremony usually call for particular dressings; for example, the wedding dress is a garment that has months of deliberation sewn into its seam,” Interlandi told the NY Daily News in an email.

By their very design, her pieces instill the idea of funerals as rituals with their uniformity and simplicity. They are neither tailor-made nor composed of synthetic fabrics which don’t break down. Instead, her garments are one-size-fits-all and are crafted from decomposable linen, cotton and hemp.

“In essence, the garment lasts long enough for the body to be dressed and buried, and it disintegrates at a rate that is slightly quicker than the body, so that the body is gradually unwrapped or undressed so that it can be released back into the environment,” she said to NY Daily News.

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Interlandi begin her funeral dress endeavor through her “Pig Project,” which was part of her Ph.D. research at RMIT University. She buried 21 dead pigs with her garments in order to figure out the rate and nature of the material’s decomposition when in contact with a body, reports TreeHugger.

Perhaps Interlandi’s garments are the right choice for you and your family, or maybe they’re not. Either way, at least her creative undertaking provides us with an eco-friendly burial option we can choose if we so desire and highlights that even further steps are being taken to make design greener.

Image courtesy of: Pia Interland