Fashioned from Nature
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
– 27 January 2019
The Victoria and Albert Museum’s exhibition “Fashioned from Nature” focuses on the relationship between clothing and nature. How does fashion use nature’s resources and what opportunities are offered by future materials?
Since the beginning of mankind, nature has been the source of inspiration and production for clothing and fashion. Prints, cuts, and materials are inspired by nature, which are particularly striking in an historical context. For example, the lavishly decorated, floral dresses of the 19th century are presented in the exhibition, shown as they develop through the ages.
Visitors to the exhibition are encouraged to think about the fabrics of fashion and the origins of their clothing. Through industrialisation – mass production and increasing levels of consumerism – a new sustainable awareness developed amongst fashion designers and customers and forms the primary focus of “Fashioned from Nature”. Within the concept of sustainability, the exhibition looks at different types of ecologically aware usage of resources and manufacturing methods, consumption and the inequalities in production and craftsmanship. As a result, in the fashion industry, there is a lot of potential for innovation that is presented in the Victoria and Albert Museum in an informative manner. Amongst the items on display is a fringed dress in vegan leather, made of the remains of grapes in wine production, and pioneering projects in sustainable fashion such as the logo shirt from Katharine Hamnett’s 1989 “Clean Up or Die” collection.
Awareness of sustainability and fairness is increasingly in demand, and the industry is working on both developing innovative materials and production methods, as well as rediscovering old types of fabrics, materials and processing methods.