We’ve all heard of eco-tourism (which is a good thing) and then there is a eco-terrorism (which is a very bad thing). How about eco-fashion? What? Haven’t heard of it? Gasp! You really must look beyond the superficial elements of fashion and go a bit deeper in your understanding of it. Fashion isn’t only about styles, cuts, fabrics, accents, and embroidery. Get a reality check and visit the mega exhibition “Eco Fashion: Going Green” organized by Fashion Institute of Technology through November 13.
Eco-Fashion: Going Green looks at the relationship between fashion and environment. “Eco-fashion,” as a term, refers to the work of designers who “use, produce, and/or promote sustainable, ethical, and environmentally-conscious products.” To judge this, each stage of fashion production, right from fiber to finished garment, has been put under the microscope and its consequence on the environment has been examined. The exhibition puts on display the works of current designers and cutting edge labels that have set the finest examples of sustainable fashion. These include Bodkin, Ciel, FIN, Edun, and NOIR.
Although the museum’s focus is squarely on eco-fashion, it begins by taking visitors on a short journey of fashion from the 1800′s. The earliest exhibit on display is a silk brocade gown that goes back to 1760. Back in those days, silk as a fabric that was highly coveted, not to mention exorbitantly priced since it was woven painstakingly on hand looms. Weavers making silk garments were highly valued for their skills. It is only befitting that the history of fashion pay a tribute to these beautiful garments and use them as a chronological start for the exhibition.
The garments in the rest of the exhibition reflect at least one of the six major areas of impact, which are as follows:
- Re-purposing and recycling of materials
- Material origins
- Textile dyeing and production
- Quality of craftsmanship
- Labor practices
- Treatment of animals
Eco-Fashion: Going Green examines not just the positive but also the negative environmental practices that have been followed over the last two centuries. One of the items on display – an acid green, silk dress dating circa 1860 – exemplifies this very well. The color of this dress was achieved using a dye that contained arsenic, which as you can guess for bad not just for the person making the dress but also wearing it. Another 1950s dress by Sophie of Saks demonstrates the use of the discharge printing method that was considered harmful to the environment.
A trip to this exhibition is an eye opener for sure. There’s no way you will be able to look at your clothes in the same way again.
Eco Fashion – Going Green Eco Fashion Going Green at the Museum at FIT New York Dress Institute, evening dress, red rayon with rhinestones and beads, 1940, USA, gift of Mrs. Harold E. Thompson.
This lava colored dress is from Costello Tagliapietra’s spring 2010 collection and gets its color via AirDye technology. Xuly-Bët, dress and jacket ensemble, multicolor sweaters, brown wool plaid, red nylon, Fall 1994, France, gift of Xuly-Bët