This week V&A museum launched the ‘Fashioned From Nature’ exhibition, showcasing the evolving relationship between fashion and nature since from 1600 until present day.
The showcase is split into two distinct parts. The ground floor depicts how fashion in the 17thcentury used nature as a source of visual inspiration but also how it, to a large extent exploited and endangered species specifically.
From whalebone corsets, peacock feathered muffs, ostrich feathered capes to beetle wing embellishment and mother of pearl buttons. The narrative of these in the context of fashion puts the symbolism of nature during that period into perspective. It was interesting to learn that it was not only cotton and silks that were mass imported in Britain during this time as 25,000 beetle wing cases from India were sold in London in 1867. The most rare of beautiful species worn by people stood for wealth, and at a time when elaborate clothing was how status was stamped- ethics had no bounds.
In vast contrast the staircase leading up to the contemporary era of fashion’s evolution stands for the gradual progression made in the industry to bring more awareness to the impacts of it on our planet and humanity. There are examples of where sustainable textiles innovation have been used in daily wear, circular fashion in the up-cycling of clothes, and where strong messages have come from taking a stand against corporations responsible for modern slavery in volatile conditions.
With Fashioned From Nature on going until January 2019, it is one worth seeing just to visualize how far the industry has come whilst considering the impacts our need for fashion has had on nature and vice versa. By the end of it, you will be urged to question your decisions today that will in turn show you what the future could potentially hold because of them.