Fashion And the Future At The V&A

The V&A (The Victoria and Albert Museum) is one of my favourite places to visit. I tend to visit fashion exhibitions but there is a world of other wonders to explore there too. Over the past two weekends, I experienced two temporary exhibitions – both quite different from each other and both definitely worth seeing.

The Future Starts Here

Fro data usage to socialising, this exhibition sought to answer several questions about the future. As a huge sci-fi fan and someone who is quite apprehensive about the future, I knew I had to go. Also as it was my other half’s birthday, I knew it’d be something we’d both get into. We spent a good two hours find out about the good, the bad and the ugly of the future.

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Having been to a couple of sci-fi/future-focused exhibitions, I was expecting to leave feeling highly anxious and pessimistic. To be fair, there was an element of that but there was a great deal of positivity too. We saw how technology can be used for good: helping refugees, giving people a voice, making the world more accessible, etc. When we were walking up the stairs, we got talking to an American techie who was not feeling as uplifted – he was fearful of how everything would be used and the type of people who’d have access to it. Technology in itself is neither good nor evil; it is the creator and the  user who can manipulate it. It is the creator and the user we have to be wary of.

Fashioned From Nature

I took my mum and my sister along for this one. Normally, I go with just mum for fashion exhibitions but this one involved a lot of information on materials and, as my sister is a crafter, it seemed perfect for her. The exhibition looked at the links between fashion and nature through history, exploring the impact on society and the environment.

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On the whole, we found it quite a heavy exhibition. From slavery to poisoning water supplies, it’s quite disturbing how negative an impact the fashion industry has had on the environment and society. The three of us had to take a step back to consider what we do and what we should do to end this negative cycle. Although there were some incredibly beautiful pieces, seeing the pain that it took to make some of them left a a bitter taste. There were positives to take away too though – there are new campaigns, initiatives and technologies out there to move fashion forward in a more sustainable and beneficial manner.

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If you do have the time, go see these exhibitions before they close!

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