Towards the end of last term, a group of A level Textiles students traveled up to London for a research and development visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum and Soho fabric shops.
The V&A’s exhibition Fashioned from Nature was the first to explore the complex relationship between fashion and nature from 1600 to the present day. The exhibition presented fashionable dress alongside natural history specimens, taxidermy and unprocessed plant and animal fibres, inviting the students to think about the materials of fashion and the sources of their clothes.
Students were asked to record 20 fibres, fabrics and designs inspired and often taken directly from nature. They were asked to discuss the fabrics properties and end uses and in their own opinions, supported by the information they found what effects have they had on the environment for both humans and nature.
Kathryn, one of the students in the group, says, “I think the exhibition really made me aware of the changing opinions within the fashion industry on sustainability and the environment. It also showed me how far the fashion and textile industry has come since the 1900’s, for example the use of beetles wings and other animals components for decoration and dyes. The 20th century leading designers are now thinking about the environment and the impact of materials/processes they are using, as well as making the garments still look stylish. An example of this is Emma Watson’s Met Gala dress in 2016 in which designer Calvin Klein made sections of her dress from recycled plastic bottles.”
In the afternoon students visited the fabric shops in Berwick Street, Soho where they were able to find samples for their individual projects.
Further information on our Textiles A level can be found here.