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Fashioned From Nature will expose fashion’s damage to the environment, and how it can be solved

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Greenpeace printed cotton t-shirt, Britain, 1990s © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The V&A has announced its upcoming exhibition Fashioned From Nature will trace the complex relationship between fashion and the natural world since 1600, including objects such as a pineapple fibre clutch-bag and Emma Watson’s Calvin Klein dress made from recycled plastic bottles, among 300 other items.

The natural world has always provided rich inspiration for the world of fashion and the exhibition will look to the past 400 years to explore what we can learn from the practices of the past. Fashioned From Nature will show how brands such as Christian Dior, Dries van Noten and Phillip Treacy draw on the beauty and power of nature for inspiration again and again. It will also examine how fashion’s processes and constant demand for raw materials have, and continue to, damage the environment.

Fashioned From Nature is extremely thorough in its documentation of the relationship between these two worlds. Other sections of the exhibition include displays of garments from the historic to the contemporary including an 1875 pair of earrings formed from the heads of two real Honeycreeper birds; a focus on raw material used in production; a display of protest posters, t-shirts and artworks from the likes of Vivienne Westwood; a range of solutions to reducing fashion’s impact on the environment including Stella McCartney and Christopher Ræburn; and two interactive installations from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion. These two installations, called Fashion Now and Fashion Future, utilise sensors and immersive design to highlight the unseen impact of fashion production on nature and also invite users to question what the future of fashion may be.

Curated by Edwina Ehrman and accompanied by a new V&A publication, the show opens 21 April 2018 – 27 January 2019.

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Ensemble, Stella McCartney, Winter 2017 © Stella McCartney

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Suit, camouflage printed cotton, designed by Richard James, 1998 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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Cape of curled cockerel feathers, Auguste Champot, France, ca. 1895 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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Outfit made from leather cut-offs and surplus yarn, Katie Jones, 2017 Photograph by Rachel Mann

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Earrings made from heads of Red Legged Honeycreeper birds, circa 1875 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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Pine Marten fur hat, Caroline Reboux, 1895 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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Greenpeace Detox Catwalk in Bandung © Greenpeace/ Hati Kecil Visuals

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Speckled Crimson Ruff by MichelleLowe-Holder, ‘Flock&Fold’ Collection AW11, Photography by Polly Penrose

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‘Grape’ dress made with Vegea, a leather alternative made fromgrape waste © Vegea