For those of you living in New York City – or NYC bound in the near future – The Museum at FIT is presenting an exhibition called Eco-Fashion: Going Green that seeks to explore fashion’s environmental and ethical practices since just before industrialisation.
Featuring more than 100 garments, accessories, and textiles from the mid-18th century to the present, Eco-Fashion examines both positive and negative environmental practices over the past two centuries, providing historical context for today’s sustainable fashion movement. Presented chronologically, the exhibition emphasizes how each stage of fashion production—from fibre to finished garment—has environmental consequences. It also highlights the increasing commitment of both contemporary designers and consumers to meet these environmental challenges, in a conscious effort to minimize harmful impacts.
The garments and objects exemplify at least one of six major themes:
- the repurposing and recycling of materials
- material origins
- textile dyeing and production
- quality of craftsmanship
- labour practices
- the treatment of animals
To read in further detail about these themes and more, see the official press release.
Since garments with lasting value are integral to today’s sustainable fashion movement, an 18th-century silk brocade gown will act as a chronological starting point for the exhibition. Historically, silk was painstakingly woven on hand looms, making it costly and complex to manufacture, and weavers were esteemed for their artisanal skills. As a result, silk garments incorporating handcraftsmanship were often cherished for their beauty and quality.
Other exciting pieces on display include a 1990’s Maison Margiela jacket created entirely out of re-purposed silk scarves, a man’s suit made in 1960 from the reverse side of a paisley shawl and a meticulously crafted, made-to-order 1950’s cocktail dress by famed Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga.
Pieces from today’s up and coming ethical fashion labels showcase the likes of Launderette favourites Ciel, NOIR and Bodkin as well as Edun, Linda Loudermilk, Norway’s FIN and cruelty-free shoe collection from Charmoné.
Eco-Fashion: Going Green has been organized by Jennifer Farley and Colleen Hill, along with Tiffany Webber. The exhibition will be on view from 26 May 2010 through 13 November 2010 in the Fashion and Textile History Gallery at The Museum at FIT – 7th Ave at 27th Street NYC 10001-5902, Tue-Fri 12pm-8pm; Sat 10am-5pm.
Go check this excellent exhibition out and get yourself on board with the growing ethical fashion movement.