The Museum at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology has launched the first ever exhibition dedicated to fashion inspired by extreme environments. From the North Pole to outer space, Expedition: Fashion from the Extreme charts how these increasingly accessible destinations have influenced modern design and fabrication.
Tapping into our A/W 18/19 fashion direction Utopia, where clothing is simultaneously combative yet cocooning, the exhibition consists of designer pieces largely from the 1960s ‘Space Age’ era onwards. The evolution of neoprene is traced from its initial use in aquanaut protective gear to a 1990s DKNY cocktail dress, while other outfits show how extreme environments have provided a wealth of print and colour inspiration.
The rise of the now ubiquitous down-filled jacket is also charted. US designer Norma Kamali’s long ‘sleeping bag’ coat from the 70s and Tommy Hilfiger’s 90s ‘puffer’ represent its mainstream iteration, while Japanese designer Junya Watanabe’s 2004 cropped version offers an avant-garde and less-than-practical twist.
As covered in our report Sustainability 360, the exhibition also touches on the fashion industry’s role in damaging these environments – as well as the steps being taken to put this right.