National Trust hosts exhibition exploring circular fashion
The National Trust has opened a new exhibition at Killerton house just outside Exeter that showcases how circular fashion from the past can inspire what we wear today.
‘Thirsty for Fashion,’ which runs until November 5, features more than 50 items from the National Trust’s largest fashion collection, highlighting pieces that demonstrate the techniques used to repair, remodel, reuse and rewear clothing from the 18th century to the present day.
The exhibition features historical examples such as a woman’s Victorian dress refashioned for a child, a wedding dress from the 19th century recycled for wear in the 1940s, and a wartime dressing gown made from an army blanket.
These items sit alongside contemporary fashion from designers and makers including responsible designer Raeburn, knitwear designer Flora Collingwood-Norris, and eco-sustainable circular designer Jose Hendo, showcasing how they are rethinking their approach to fashion for a more sustainable and circular industry.
Shelley Tobin, National Trust costume curator at Killerton, said in a statement: “Recycling and reusing clothing is not a new idea, but something that has been commonplace throughout history. This exhibition asks the question - can we learn lessons from these past practices and reapply forgotten skills to looking after our clothes and make them more sustainable? The items exhibited show that we only need look to history to discover ways to ensure that the clothing we buy, make and wear is durable, ethical and avoids waste.
“But as well as looking to the past we’ll also be looking to the future and the exhibition will also feature twelve works by six contemporary designers and makers. Their exhibits show just some of the ways that designers today are refashioning surplus stock to produce new clothing with no waste going to landfill.”
The exhibit also shows vintage films from the 1940s and ‘50s with advice on how to ‘make do and mend’ and photographs of National Trust staff, volunteers and members of the public who give personal reflections on some of the oldest and most special items of clothing in their wardrobes.
‘Thirsty for Fashion’ runs on the first floor of Killerton House until November 5.