Fast Fashion | Slow Fashion

Exhibition Foto: Tim Mitchell

Exhibition and Public Program

All around the globe people are fascinated by fashion. Trends change faster than the seasons, and countless high-gloss magazines report on the trend-setting wardrobes of celebrities. Next to art fairs, shopping malls and coffee chains, fashion weeks have become a “must-have” for the modern city. However, the world of production behind enticing shopfronts often remains opaque: How can new clothes be so cheap? Who are the people producing your clothes? What impact do fast-changing fashion trends have on the environment? What kind of responsibility do we have as consumers?

The exhibition Fast Fashion – The Dark Side of Fashion responds to these questions and suggests: However glamourous the fashion world may seem, there is a dark side to it. Visualising the ramifications of fast-paced consumerism, and an even faster industry, the exhibition brings attention to economic, ecological and social issues that more often than not remain comfortably invisible.

But not all is bad in the fashion industry. The Slow Fashion Studio, developed in collaboration with the RMIT School for Fashion & Textiles, proposes alternatives: This work-in-progress exhibition features the work of nine design pracititioners, who collectively create a social space for exploring alternative approaches to how fashion is produced, consumed and experienced. Using the Fast Fashion exhibition as a provocation, each work reconsiders our relationship with materials and to clothing. How might a sustainable and ethical fashion system emerge that is globally networked, but based on authentic localised relationships of materiality and fabrication?

Fast Fashion | Slow Fashion is the Australian contribution to the regional Goethe-Institut project IKAT/eCUT, which focusses on the past, present and future of the textile industry in South-East Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Germany. As part of this project, the exhibition Fast Fashion – The Dark Side of Fashion will be shown at RMIT Gallery between July 21st and September 9th, 2017. Curated by Dr. Claudia Banz at the Museum für Kunst & Gewerbe Hamburg, the exhibition has travelled from Germany to the Philippines and Indonesia, where it has connected designers and makers of ethical fashion to global narratives. Melbourne is the last stop on the exhibition’s itinerary, before returning home to Hamburg.

A public program will offer opportunities to engage with the Australian ethical fashion scene. Whilst Australians are the second largest consumers of new textiles in the world, there is a growing social and environmental awareness that pushes for ethically concious consumption. During panel discussions, film screenings and workshops, get to know those players within the local scene, that strive to make a difference –  from grassroots designers of Slow Fashion to journalists and activists.

Fast Fashion | Slow Fashion has been made possible through the Karin Stilke Stiftung and Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt.