Fashioned From Nature
foreword by Emma Watson, Edwina Ehrman
Fashion has always sought to celebrate nature - from sumptuous silks and floral patterns, to the spectacular creations of designers such as Stella McCartney and Christopher Raeburn, it is a centuries-old seam running through the clothes we all wear. In spite of this reverence for the natural world, fashion seems destined to harm it. With essays spanning the 17th century to the present day, FASHIONED FROM NATURE examines our dependence on the natural world. The impact of certain trends has been felt for centuries, with sometimes devastating effect as seen in the demand for ivory and exotic feathers. Past generations were not immune to fads – the sudden ubiquity of reptile skin accessories in the 1920s had obvious knock-on effects. That said, the current era of intense consumerism and fast fashion has taken things to a new level and this book discusses the need to develop a more responsible fashion cycle in which both producers and consumers have a stake. Which has greater environmental impact in the world today – a leather handbag, or a white cotton t-shirt? Considering the effects of land clearance, insecticides and water consumption – not to mention washing after every wear at 140F – and the answer may not be as clear cut as it first appears. No fashion choice will ever be without impact, but this book will stimulate debate and empower readers to question their role as consumers. "FEATURING clothes from the 1700s to today, the V&A's Fashioned From Nature exhibition promises to be one of the must-see shows of the year." Metro ‘highly informative' Times Literary Supplement, 8th June 2018
Edwina Ehrman is a Senior Exhibition Curator at the V&A and a specialist in 19th-century fashion and the history of London fashion.