Fashion Fictions is an ambitious exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery that explores experimental design practices at the intersection of fashion and other modes of cultural production.
Featuring more than 50 designers from around the world, the exhibition explores the influence of research-based, materially driven practices on the global fashion scene while acknowledging the proliferation of creative practices that challenge the aesthetic, material, and technological conventions of fashion.
“Fashion Fictions has been many years in the making, and this timely exhibition reveals how fashion can be used to understand, describe and shape the world around us, as well as to envision modes of living very different than our own,” said exhibition curator, Stephanie Rebick, the Gallery’s Director of Publishing and Content Strategy.
A Trio of Themes
The exhibition explores three thematic sections:
- Material Futures explores the relationship between technological and scientific innovations in material research to create fabrics.
- Aesthetic Prophesies highlights the fusion of cultural traditions with speculative creations and designers that push the boundaries of wearability with extreme fashion.
- Responsible Visions explores the importance of sustainable discourse in fashion culture, with designers incorporating adaptive reuse, upcycling, and digital design into their explorations.
“Fashion Fictions is a timely and urgent exploration of the intersection of design, art and personal agency, in the tradition of numerous Vancouver Art Gallery exhibitions that broaden the public’s understanding of visual culture,” states Vancouver Art Gallery CEO & Director Anthony Kiendl.
From Legends to Disruptors
“Fashion Fictions is more than mannequins and dresses; it’s an exploration of creativity drawing on cultural traditions, science fiction, technology and an interest in the natural world and sustainability. The curatorial approach favours the unexpected: established and celebrated brands are juxtaposed with emerging designers; couture is exhibited alongside streetwear, and objects that blur the boundaries between design and contemporary art are peppered throughout. Contributing curator Amber-Dawn Bear Robe selected work by several Indigenous designers and artists addressing social and environmental issues through designs,” said Kiendl.
Featured designers and artists include Balenciaga, Balmain, Comme des Garçons, Iris van Herpen, Maison Margiela, Alexander McQueen, Issey Miyake, Moncler, Off-White, Pyer Moss, Marine Serre, Valentino Garavani, Vetements, Junya Watanabe, and many more.
The Astonishment is Natural
Throughout the exhibition, there are spotlights on fashion innovation and trends. Some highlights include Iris van Herpen’s couture gowns that integrate new technologies in unconventional ways; Craig Green’s alien and sculptural puffer looks for his Moncler Genius collections; the premiere of Montréal-based Ying Gao’s robotic garment 2 5 2 6; Alice Potts’ bio-design that creates crystal embellishments from human sweat; and Comme des Garçons’ radical reconfiguration of conventional silhouettes.
“I am thrilled for Indigenous fashion to be integrated into the larger conversation of global fashion with this exhibition,” said Amber-Dawn Bear Robe, Contributing Curator. “The Indigenous designers curated into the show represent such a tiny fraction of the extraordinary work being fashioned by Indigenous designers across Native North America. Many more fashion stories of the original designers of this land need to be shared.”
Fashion Fictions is accompanied by a magazine-style publication available online and in the Gallery Store. This exhibition is a must-see for anyone interested in the future of fashion, design, and cultural production.
Full List of Artists and Designers Included in Fashion Fictions
1017 ALYX 9SM, Barry Ace, adidas, Anta, Jason Baerg, Himikalas Pamela Baker, Balenciaga, Balmain, Catherine Blackburn, Comme des Garçons, Crocs, DRKSHDW, Orlando Dugi, Eytys, Ying Gao, Taskin Goec, Goomheo, Craig Green, Grounds, Infinited Fiber Company, Iris van Herpen, Shaya Ishaq, Jontay Kahm, Ronald van der Kemp, Helen Kirkum, Julia Koerner, Li-Ning, Chet Lo, Maison Margiela, Material Matters, Alexander McQueen, Issey Miyake, Moncler, Caroline Monnet, Tony Murray, nat-2™, New Balance, Nike, Off-White, Jamie Okuma, Wendy Owusu, Neri Oxman, Celeste Pedri-Spade, Mimi Plange, POST ARCHIVE FACTION (PAF), Alice Potts, Pyer Moss, Stina Randestad, Christopher Raxxy, Reebok, RTFKT, SCRY, Marine Serre, Alexandra Șipa, Skawennati, SOTA, Adrian Stimson, Studio PMS, Modern Synthesis, Maiko Takeda, The Fabricant, threeASFOUR, Angus Tsui, Undercover, Valentino Garavani, Vetements, Junya Watanabe, Anouk Wipprecht, Robert Wun, Scarlett Yang, Yimeng Yu, YUIMA NAKAZATO, and others.
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- Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Marketing & Communications Inc and publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine and digital women's lifestyle magazine EcoLuxLifestyle.co. She is a prolific content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist within the ecoluxury lifestyle niche. Post-pandemic, she has worked with many small to mid-sized plant-based/vegan brands to build their digital foundations and strategize content creation and business development. Helen is the west coast correspondent to Canada’s top-read industry magazine Retail-Insider, holds a vast freelance portfolio, and consults with many of the world’s luxury heritage brands. Always seeking new opportunities and challenges, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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