Fashioned from Nature

Exhibition place:1187 Wanghai Road, Shekou, Shenzhen, China

Exhibition time:2020.12 - 2021.6

Introduction text

Fashioned from Nature explores the relationship between fashion an d nature from 1600 to the present day. The exhibits show the inspiration fashion draws from nature, but also highlight the harmful effects on the natural environment of the increasing scale of the clothing industry.

It asks two questions:

How can we design a more sustainable fashion industry?

What can we learn from the past?

This exhibition examines how clothing production has changed over time an d the challenges faced by all of us today – to create an d buy clothes that are beautiful an d responsible, an d to value our clothes more.

Choose carefully: look good

Wear wisely: feel good

Recycle: be generous

Greenpeace printed cotton t-shirt, Britain, 1990s © Victoria an d Albert Museum, London

Skirt an d train, France or Britain, c.1895-1905. © Victoria an d Albert Museum, London

Grape’ dress made with Vegea, a leather alternative made from grape waste. © Vegea

Man’s silk waistcoat embroidered in silk with a pattern of macaque monkeys, 1780–89. © Victoria an d Albert Museum, London

Court Dress, France & Britain in 1760-65, alterations 19th century © Victoria an d Albert Museum, London.

Glove in leather, Britain, 1600-1625 ©Victoria an d Albert Museum, London

Fan of Fan, Britain, c. 1880 © Victoria an d Albert Museum, London

Dress, Britain, 1868-9 © Victoria an d Albert Museum, London

Han dbag of perspex, France, early 1950s ©Victoria an d Albert Museum, London.

Wedding dress, Britain,1807 ©Victoria an d Albert Museum, London

Evening gown,Britain,about 1829 ©Victoria an d Albert Museum, London

Cape, Britain,c.1898 ©Victoria an d Albert Museum, London.

Evening gown,Britain,about 1887 ©Victoria an d Albert Museum, London.

Man's night cap,Britain,1600-25 ©Victoria an d Albert Museum, London.


The rapid economic boom in China has reenergized the fashion industry. One eye is looking at the latest trends from International fashion centres; the other eye is examining local trends inspired by China’s rich histories.

‘Men farm, women weave’, is the saying used in Chinese history to symbolize a harmonious society. Reviving forgotten textile fibres an d weaving crafts is part of the new sustainable lifestyle.

Colouring textiles with plant dyes leads us to retrace historical practices while meeting modern needs. 

Patterns decorating textiles have long been symbols of blessings in Chinese culture. Digital machines today manipulate these images for new interpretations.

With social media providing endless inspirations, we all become our own alchemist, freely transforming old an d new elements to form our very own idea of ”nature”.

This exhibition retraces ‘nature’ in historic Chinese textiles an d costumes. Through materials, dyes an d patterns, we look at the ancient ‘natural’ world an d move on to our 21st century to reflect on the relationship between fashion an d nature today.





Emperor’s Dragon Robe(Replica), Replica of Yongzheng Emperor’s (1678-1735) dragon robe, 2016, Silk, 98% pure gold threads ©China National Silk Museum

Civilisation NO.2, Wang Lei, 2016-2017 ©China National Silk Museum

Brocade Robe with Geese, Replica of an excavated robe from Daiqintala, Inner Mongolia ©China National Silk Museum

Silk Threads' Cocktail Dress, Grace Chen, 2009-2013 ©China National Silk Museum

Embroidered Elephant Hat, early 20th century ©China National Silk Museum

Jacket with shell buttons, before 1950, Silk,  mother-of-pearl buttons ©China National Silk Museum

Painted Silk Gauze(Replica),Replica of silk gauze from Mawangdui tomb, Changsha, Hunan Province ©China National Silk Museum

Robe material with Mang dragon (four-clawed dragon) , 18th century, Silk, Qing Dynasty ©China National Silk Museum

Brocade with auspicious symbols, Replica of textile from Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), 2010, Silk ©China National Silk Museum

Embroidered Bib with Crab,  early 20th century, Silk, metallic thread, cotton ©China National Silk Museum

Embroidered Card Holder with Rabbits, early 20th century, Silk, metallic thread, printed cotton backing ©China National Silk Museum

Dress with Resist-Dyed Pattern, 2019 ©rechenberg art couture

Wrap dress, 2013  ©rechenberg art couture

MULBERRY SILK, Animation(Clip), Han dscroll of Sericulture an d Weaving by Lou Shou(1090-1162), Southern Song  ©China National Silk Museum

Lesser Chinese Draw Loom Model, 2000  ©China National Silk Museum

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