Culture: Fashioned from Nature

Hey hey everyone!

How’s it going? I am finally back from Cancun, Mexico; but have been caught in a whirlwind of emails and work so I have not had the head space to update the blog. Finally got some free time this evening and I wanted to share with you my latest culture trip in dear old London town. Don’t worry, I will give an update on my Mexico in due course! So much to share with you.

Last weekend I visited the V&A for their latest fashion exhibition – Fashioned from Nature. Tickets are £12 for adults but half price with the Art Pass and will be available until 29th January 2019 so you have plenty of time to check it out!

As many of you are aware there is a strong, although not always loving, relationship between the mother nature and fashion. From the use of fur in the industry, all the way to the use of water for denim.The exhibition explores the relationship between fashion and nature from the 1600s to the present day. Personally, I think mother nature has suffered greatly in the hands of fashion, but there have been real positive changes to the industry,

The last time, I visited the V&A it was also check out their previous fashion exhibition Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion which was really splendid. However, when coming to the same space again, I felt a bit of a déjà vu. I believe that due to the space, the team is limited in how they can change the structure of the room, so I felt like I was at the same exhibition but they just swapped the dresses, which was slightly disappointing.

The bottom floor is dedicated to the history of fashion starting from the 1600. It covers a vast stretch of time and a lot of different subjects. It took me about an hour just to walk through that small space and read everything. It covered the use of animals, from whalebone to fur to feathers; in addition to how the natural sciences inspired designers. Check out some of my pictures above, there is this beautifully embroidered waist coat with Capuchin monkeys. The dress with the beetle wings is very vivid, though a piece of jewelry was most memorable in the exhibition was a pair of earrings made from the heads of a iridescent honeybird. I think it is shocking to even those who are accustomed to the use of animals parts in their wardrobe.

Obviously, being the Pineapple Chicken blog, I got super excited when I read about pineapple fibre! Didn’t even realise that such a thing existed! I am very tempted to source some for myself and see if I can make some branded tees,  what do you think? (That is assuming I would come up with a logo!)

The second part of the exhibition is located upstairs and covers modern fashion and how the fashion industry is tackling their relationship with the environment. It showcases new and innovative ways to change the industry to a more sustainable model. There is research being conducted on how to minimise the use of water and chemicals for dyes as well as alternatives to leather and fur, which I have noted that “vegan” handbags are becoming more common, which is awesome.

The exhibition made me think about my role as an consumer and how I interact with the industry. I try not to follow fast fashion, partially because it is expensive and too much effort, but also because I think that there are significant negative externalities to it. For fashion to change so quickly and clothes produced in such mass quantities, I believe that there is either there is the exploitation of labour or environmental damage along the supply chain. Do not get me wrong, I am not perfect, I love a good bargain and I buy high street goods and I do not ask myself – where does this come from, what is the supply chain, how is it made? However, the exhibition really made me stop and think.

  • What do you think will happen in the future?
  • How do we become more sustainable and protect our planet for future generations and species?
  • What can I do to help? Is there hope?

I was really not expecting the exhibition to leave me with so many questions.  I have tried embarking on my “minimalism” journey for a couple of months now, before going to this exhibition, but I think I should revisit this journey and think twice before I pick up another pair of jeans or t-shirt.

I think it did a great job in engaging with an audience so if you are into fashion, I think it is worthwhile going, however, I note that it is not for everyone. Thus, I give it 3.5 pineapples. I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on any of the above, or if you have already been to the exhibition, let me know what you think!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x

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