Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Eco Chic - Towards Sustainable Swedish Fashion (part 1)

This wonderful exhibition, having already toured extensively, opened last night at Scandinavia House here in NY with a symposium on which I've written at the Parsons School of Fashion blog. The exhibition is commissioned and produced by The Swedish Institute, and the curator and exhibition architect is Karin Gräns. Congratulations on the beautiful design of the space! The wall plaques are made from natural rubber, and the stands are naturally dark rather than dyed black wood. The circular motifs of the plaques and stands help create a cohesive overall feel for the space. Once again, my photographs do not do the design of the exhibition justice so you must go and check it out for yourself. My camera batteries died and some photos are 'courtesy' of my iPhone, including the symposium photo on the Parsons blog. There are some beautiful photos and video at Tear-n Tan. A background video on the exhibited designers is available here.

The exhibition will eventually tour further and as those details become available, I'll post here. Free gallery admission is made possible by a generous grant provided by The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation and the exhibition is also supported by the The Swedish Institute and the Consulate General of Sweden in New York.

I hope that the styling of the looks comes through in my photography. Exhibiting contemporary fashion as well as styling fashion for an exhibition can be tricky, as styling should support rather than overwhelm the clothes on show. In my opinion, this worked well. The styling served to make the clothes accessible, every day - an important quality in this kind of exhibition: these are clothes for living, for all of us. The stylists are Jacob Bernhardtz and Ursula Wångander. The strong educational focus in the wall plaques is useful and this comes through in the catalogue, too - including the often neglected impacts of laundry. Mathilda Tham served as the sustainability consultant for the exhibition so it is no surprise that the subject matter is dealt with in a robust way. Finally, Kajsa Guterstam acted as coordinator and Mats Hedman was the graphic designer. Once again, congratulations to everyone involved!

Here are the exhibited designers. Worth also mentioning is the short film, 'Globalization', directed by Johan Romin, on show in a side room.

Dem Collective
Fair trade is important for the company, both in fabrics and labour, much of which takes place in Sri Lanka and India. Karin Stenmar of Dem Collective reiterated this beautifully in the symposium.

Julian Red
More than 60% of the company's fabrics are organic and fair labour conditions are important to the company. The coat is organic linen and lurex - sure, not cradle to cradle as Anna Maria Bernitz, Project Manager at the Swedish Institute acknowledged, but it is a coat that one would have for a long time and perhaps eventually pass on to a younger generation. A heritage piece, something that came up a number of times in the symposium. It reminded me of Caroline Priebe's comment at The Sustainability Equation: Ethics and Aesthetics in Contemporary Fashion. The organic cotton denim on the right is amazing!

Nudie Jeans
Do I need to introduce Nudie? I didn't think so.

Pia Anjou
A graduate of the Swedish School of Textiles in Borås (where Marcus Bergman lectures), Anjou aims for a design approach that allows mixing of pieces from consecutive collections.

Bergman's make men's shirts in Peruvian organic cotton. Marcus Bergman, the Managing Director of The Ecocotton Co, was one of symposium speakers.

Johanna Hofring
Hofring is very much involved in and her collection is stocked at Ekovaruhuset in New York.

Righteous Fashion
The company was started by Kajsa Cappelen Holst and Paula Kermfors, who studied Human Rights Law.

Camilla Norback
Perhaps one of the better known designers in the exhibition, Norrback has been in business for eight years.

Zion Clothing
The company focuses strongly on organic cotton and ethical production.

Reflective Circle
My photos of Reflective Circle's look didn't turn out, but there are some beautiful images here. The look next to Hynynen's below is the one. The company was established in 2001 by Josefin Lassbo.

Anja Hynynen
A Swede with a Finnish name, Hynynen works on two collections, one under her own name and another with Ardalanish Isle of Mull Weavers, a mill in Scotland.

Swedish Hasbeens
All the shoes are based on original 70s models and manufactured in the same factory they were back then.

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