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Ethics + Aesthetics = Sustainable Fashion

Start Date 20 November 2009
End Date 20 February 2010
Venue Pratty Manhattan Gallery
Location New York, USA
Curator Sarah Scaturro and Francesca Granata
Designer Jon Otis and students from the exhibition design practicum at Pratt Institute
Gallery view of the entrance to exhibition
A row of white garments are hung on an ostensibly scale system against a white bag.

The first exhibition on sustainable fashion to be held in New York City, “Ethics and Aesthetics” surveyed the work of artists and designers who explored practical and symbolic solutions to the question of integrating sustainable practices into the fashion system during the first decade of the 21st century. Through innovative pattern-making, many of these designers promoted clothes’ versatility and longevity by creating modular and multi-functional garments. These explorations were often paired with the use of recycled and/or innovative materials coming from renewable and organic crops and the employment of fair labor practices in the manufacturing stage. Among the New York–based designers who most explicitly tackled these issues are Sans, NatureVsFuture and Loomstate. Also included were artists and designers who more directly questioned the fashion cycle and its dependence on fast and constant change. Artists like Andrea Zittel, Zoë Saldaña, Kelly Cobb and designers such as Susan Cianciolo and Johanna Hofring engaged with the symbolic and emotional import of fashion and clothing to promote a slower fashion tempo. Their practice—often informed by a DIY ethos—fostered the creation of meaningful networks and relations through clothing. 

Artists and designers included Alabama Chanin, Bodkin, Susan Cianciolo, Kelly Cobb, Loomstate, Max Osterweis/SUNO, Zoë Sheehan Saldaña, SANS, Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Uluru, Andrea Zittel, and Tiprin Follett/Smockshop.