by Stephen Garner

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a new concept collection, created in collaboration with American designer and creative director Heron Preston.

Paying homage to the patent of the airbag which celebrates its 50th anniversary – and the 40th anniversary of the life-saving feature’s use in Mercedes-Benz passenger cars – the conceptual collection is made of recycled airbag materials from the luxury car brands’ safety and crash-test research area. In addition to the concept looks, the upcycled airbags have been turned into exclusive merchandise designed by Heron Preston, which will be available via a giveaway on the global platform GOAT from September 10th. 

For the concept collection, Preston reimagines the ground-breaking airbag safety feature into three forward-thinking men’s and women’s looks, inspired by the airbag and using upcycled material from the Mercedes-Benz safety area. The functionality of the airbag is mirrored through the collection’s ability to inflate and deflate. Aligning with Mercedes-Benz’s commitment to sustainability, Preston’s label – recognized for its luxury spin on workwear – has incorporated less environmentally destructive practices since the launch of his label in 2016. Today, his brand is amongst just a few in the streetwear space that is proud to prioritize sustainability and the Mercedes-Benz conceptual looks sit within Heron’s RE-DESIGN program, which creates one-of-a-kind pieces from re-used materials.

“At Mercedes-Benz, we are very proud of our unique, global fashion engagement, which has developed a close relationship with the industry since 1995,” said Bettina Fetzer, vice president of communications and marketing at Mercedes-Benz AG. “Working with co-creators in this field that reflect our values enables us to further push sustainable luxury design into the future. Heron’s unique take on sustainability and the way he approaches the topic through the lens of culture is what made him an outstanding partner to work with on this project.”

“Mercedes-Benz and my brand share a common value of reducing our impact on the planet, and that was the starting point of the co-operation,” added Preston. “Upcycling and celebrating sustainability have been my earliest approaches to design, since launching my collection, and I loved lensing a celebration of the airbags anniversary in this way to create a beautiful collection from recovered materials alongside some of their most advanced fleet of fuel-efficient and electric vehicles. Mercedes-Benz is an iconic brand which has such a stronghold on culture – and me being fascinated with culture and someone who shapes it – the partnership felt both exciting and natural.”

The conceptual creations are brought to life in a series of powerful images and bespoke films lensed by photographer and filmmaker Thibaut Grevet, conceived by Ill Studio. Vehicles included are the new S-Class, S-Class Plug-in-Hybrid, a cutaway model, the 500 SEL (W126), and the new full-electric EQS.

Continuing the idea of upcycling and sustainability as a major responsibility, the shoot’s inflatable set will be repurposed and appear as an installation at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin from September 6th-8th.