Fashion has had a complex relationship with nature. Some fashion designers cite nature as an inspiration, yet the processes associated with fashion are far from respectful of nature. The V&A Museum seeks to shed light on the relationship between fashion and nature in a forthcoming exhibition, Fashioned From Nature.
The exhibition, which launches on 21 April, traces the relationship between fashion and nature all the way back from 1600 to present day. Spanning over 400 years, the exhibition will present fashionable dress from the ages, alongside natural history specimens.
Fashioned From Nature also explores the environmental impacts of fashion, from the demand for raw materials through to key campaigners such as Fashion Revolution and Vivienne Westwood.
With consumers now more clued about fashion and its environmental impacts, the demand for sustainable and ethical fashion is set to rise. Consumers no longer desire cheap, throwaway clothes that last a “fashion season”, but desire clothes that are made well, under ethical conditions, sourced sustainably and are worn to last through seasons of wear.
Fashioned From Nature puts a spotlight on sustainable fashion looking at innovative new fabrics and dyeing processes, with a view to encouraging visitors to be conscious of the materials of fashion and the sources of their clothes.
Items of clothing and accessories on display include a Calvin Klein dress made from recycled plastic bottles as seen on actress Emma Watson at the 2016 Met Gala, as well as a leather-style dress made from grape waste, a pineapple fibre clutch-bag, and a cape of cockerel feathers.
Whilst exploring the consequences of fashion on the natural world, the exhibition will also present a range of solutions to reducing the environmental impact. Low water denim and the use of wild rubber will be presented alongside more conceptual and collaborative projects, helping to set a precedent for a sustainable future within the fashion industry.
Fashioned From Nature is on at the V&A in London from 21 April
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea