Multi-disciplinary creative Heron Preston has partnered with automotive giant Mercedes Benz to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the airbag. First registered as patent number DE2152902C2 50 years ago, Mercedes introduced the airbag with its S-Class vehicles in 1981.
Commenting on the effort in an exchange with GQ, Preston stated, “Not only is this a sustainable project, but it’s one that highlights the overlooked and the unfamiliar. I designed these inflatable pieces because for me these life-saving airbags, which are often just ignored, need celebrating.
“A big part of my brand is to shine a light on things that are overshadowed, whether that’s the [Department of Sanitation NY] or passenger-seat airbags. People get in their cars and just think about their destination. They don’t think about what is protecting them. I’ve taken that everyday object and celebrated it, in turn championing the people behind it.”
The project is especially meaningful to Preston, who was protected by an airbag when the car he was a passenger in crashed. “I am happy that I can laugh about it now, but I could have been seriously injured,” he said.
Apparel was upcycled from crash test airbags deployed at the Mercedes-Benz safety testing facility in Germany. Just like the air bags, the clothing can inflate and deflate as desired with a system embedded in the insulation. According to press on the project, “All of the natural and unique details from the airbags were preserved for authenticity and only additional branding was printed onto the material for this project.”
While the apparel isn’t available to purchase, an upcycled bag will be be available via auction on goat.com starting September 10, 2021.