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Fashioned from Nature (touring)

Start Date December 2020
End Date June 2021
Venue China Silk Museum
Location Hangzhou, China
Curator Edwina Ehrmann
Exhibition display of dressed mannequins in semi circle
Exhibition display of dressed mannequins
Exhibition display of dressed mannequins with black bird style shoes, feather-adorned and with birds' feet as heels in foreground
Exhibition display of dressed mannequins - 2 floral decorated dresses in front of backdrop of tapestry
Exhibition display of dressed mannequins with projection of the moon and looking through gap in net curtain

Fashioned from Nature explores the relationship between fashion an d nature from 1600 to the present day. The exhibits show the inspiration fashion draws from nature, but also highlight the harmful effects on the natural environment of the increasing scale of the clothing industry.

It asks two questions:

How can we design a more sustainable fashion industry?

What can we learn from the past?

This exhibition examines how clothing production has changed over time an d the challenges faced by all of us today – to create and buy clothes that are beautiful an d responsible, an d to value our clothes more.

The rapid economic boom in China has reenergized the fashion industry. One eye is looking at the latest trends from International fashion centres; the other eye is examining local trends inspired by China’s rich histories.

‘Men farm, women weave’, is the saying used in Chinese history to symbolize a harmonious society. Reviving forgotten textile fibres and weaving crafts is part of the new sustainable lifestyle.

Colouring textiles with plant dyes leads us to retrace historical practices while meeting modern needs.

Patterns decorating textiles have long been symbols of blessings in Chinese culture. Digital machines today manipulate these images for new interpretations.

With social media providing endless inspirations, we all become our own alchemist, freely transforming old and new elements to form our very own idea of ”nature”.

This exhibition retraces ‘nature’ in historic Chinese textiles and costumes. Through materials, dyes and patterns, we look at the ancient ‘natural’ world and move on to our 21st century to reflect on the relationship between fashion and nature today.

Image courtesy of China Silk Museum, Hangzhou, China