Fashioned From Nature At The V&A

Fashioned From Nature, the V&A’s next major fashion exhibition, will investigate the intricate relationship between fashion and the natural world since the 1600s. Opening on April 21st, the exhibition will examine the different ways in which designers draw on nature for inspiration, as well as hone in on the role we have in creating a more sustainable fashion industry. An H&M Conscious dress made from recycled shoreline plastic and a genetically engineered bioluminescent silk dress by Sputniko! are amongst 300 beautifully intriguing objects presented in the Gallery.

Generously supported by the European Confederation of Flax and Hemp –CELC, the exhibition will showcase contemporary designers of desirable, creative and sustainable fashion including menswear and womenswear collections from Stella McCartney and upcycled dresses by Christopher Raeburn. We have to mention Emma Watson’s Calvin Klein plastic bottles look worn at the Met Gala in 2016; it will be showcased with a floral dress from Erdem’s Green Carpet Challenge Collection. Fashion From Nature will also look to draw attention to the use of innovative fabrics as a means for sustainability; think grape waste as a substitute for leather and a Ferragamo ensemble made entirely from ‘Orange Fibre’, derived from waste from the Italian citrus industry.

The exhibition will also present the many a ways fashion has used animal materials in its designs and production. Looking at the past 400 years, items include an 1875 pair of earrings formed from the heads of two Honeycreeper birds and an 1860’s Muslim dress embellished with the shimmering green wing cases of hundreds of jewel beetles. At a time when environmental protection and the use and disposal of precious resources are hotly debated topics, the exhibition will also provide a forum for discussion through its close focus on the raw materials used in the production of fashion. Arranged chronologically, the V&A will establish the main fibres used in the 17th and 18th centuries -such as silk, flax, wool and cotton - as well as the now controversial materials like whalebone and turtle shell.

The exhibition will also display collections of posters, artwork and slogan clothing illustrating how protests have significantly highlighted the harmful side to fashion. Icons, such as Vivienne Westwood, who have been at the forefront of the Fashion Revolution, will be acknowledged; specifically through an outfit the designer wore to a protest against climate change. Furthermore, the exhibition will present a range of solutions that reduce fashion’s carbon footprint, such as low water denim and using wild rubber for collaborative projects. The Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) at London College of Fashion will also be presenting two interactive installations; one exploring the impact of the construction five iconic contemporary fashion pieces had on nature and the other showing viewers a glimpse into what the future could look like, inviting us to question what fashion actually means. Fashion From Nature is set to be truly eye-opening and an unmissable exhibition that we can’t wait to see; for the mere price of £12, this could be the biggest bargain of the year.