Whether or not you're someone who would take great care in selecting a deceased loved one's clothing prior to burial, chances are that you probably wouldn't think too much about what those actual clothes are made out of. But the garments worn into the great beyond have become designer Pia Interlandi's entire career.
In a profile by FastCo, Interlandi discusses how, after the death of her grandfather, she realized that little to no care was going into the change of costume—particularly in terms of functionality. Of course, functionality might seem like a strange choice of words, but as Interlandi explains to FastCo, there's much more to that final change of clothes than meets the eye.
The body becomes stiffer in the joints and unexpectedly heavy. Because of this, dressing a dead body basically requires a new way of dressing someone, where you turn their garments upside down.
Dress a corpse in nylon tights or stockings, and they will constrict around the waist and act as pressure tights around the legs. The result is that when deterioration sets in the bacteria can't easily get down the legs or around the torso, resulting in the legs mummifying while the upper body rots normally.
Put that way, Interlandi's line certainly does seem a more dignified way of death. She only uses natural fabrics in her one-size-fits-all robes, some of which include calico, cotton, silk, and lace. What's more, they're designed to make dressing the dead—which can, understandably, be an otherwise arduous process what with them being dead and all—as easy as possible. First, the open robe is laid down in the empty coffin like a sheet so that the body can be laid on top. Then either family member or funeral director would simply need to pin the front as they might a robe.
And just as as the experience of losing a loved one is different to each individual, Interlandi happily takes custom requests to accomdate size, age, and religion among any other personal touches the bereaved might request. And though this is a highly specified product, each robe costs a mere $80—a small price to pay for eternity. [Pia Interlandi via FastCo]