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© V&A - Muff made from pheasant and peacock feathers and silk

Fashioned From Nature

This seminal exhibition explores the complex relationship between fashion and nature from 1600 to the present day. Three hundred beautiful, intriguing and unsettling objects highlight fashion’s dependence on the riches of nature for inspiration, energy and raw materials to satisfy our desire for pleasure and novelty.
The exhibition celebrates fashion’s creativity and innovation and asks how the industry and us, as consumers, can harness these qualities to design a vibrant but more responsible fashion system that respects, protects and celebrates the natural world.

Displays of exquisite garments from the historic to the contemporary are arranged chronologically alongside their raw materials including fibres from the 17th and 18th centuries, to the now controversial materials such as whalebone and turtle shell. The exhibition charts the expansion of mass production and man-made materials, which brought fashionable dress to the masses but also contributed to the air and water pollution to which the textile industry is a contributor. This conflict, which has become critical in the 21st century with the huge scale of the global fashion industry, is at the heart of this exhibition.

Many types of solutions for reducing fashion’s impact on the environment are showcased. Marvel at groundbreaking, innovative fabrics such as Vegea’s Grape gown, a leather-look dress made from grape waste from the wine industry, a stunning dress from the H&M Conscious Collection made from recycled shoreline plastic and a dress made from plant roots by Diana Scherer.

See a bold display of posters, artworks and slogan clothes – some from Vivienne Westwood’s own wardrobe – that demonstrate how climate-change protest movements have helped draw attention to the harmful side of fashion. Finally, through interactive installations, question a future for the fashion industry that we are yet to imagine.

Fashioned from Nature runs until 27 January 2019 at the V&A, South Kensington.
T: 020-7942 2000.

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