Marios Schwab Autumn/Winter 2010 collection which was a homage to his Austrian heritage. Photo by Dan Lecca
Over the past four years I’ve worked on a programme of events in Central and South Asia - New Silk Road - which explored the use of traditional crafts skills and iconography from the region within contemporary practice.
In Pakistan, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan we developed a series of workshops, predominantly focusing on fashion and textiles, which addressed this subject. Last year we commissioned Basso and Brooke to produce a collection inspired from travels in Uzbekistan which was shown at the Design Museum Tank ,and this then travelled to Uz Style Week last October.
The next stage of this programme will be an exhibition of contemporary fashion from the UK which focuses on the work of designers who incorporate elements of their cultural heritage within their work.
‘Reconstruction’ - which will open in Astana, Kazakhstan in May - celebrates the work of seven of the UK’s leading fashion designers. Their approaches differ markedly, but I have selected work for this exhibition which demonstrates a shared philosophy: a skilful distillation of elements of their respective pasts – either personal moments or a collective cultural heritage – to create contemporary garments with narrative.
Some of British fashion’s most internationally renowned designers – Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood, Hussein Chalayan and Sophia Kokosalaki – are shown alongside rapidly emerging names Peter Jensen, Marios Schwab and Osman Yousefzada.
Like the dyes, silks, muslins and printed cottons that arrived in Europe along the Silk Road, conjuring up images of their distant origins, the work in this exhibition offers a snapshot of some of the traditions and cultures inspiring these celebrated designers.
The exhibition design is by Pippa Nissen Studio with graphic design by Kellenberger-White.
We’re lucky enough to have Bonaveri, which produces beautiful mannequins as sponsor for the exhibition.
Designs are developing quickly and we’ll be releasing images soon. Watch this space.