“Crafting Fashion for Possible Futures”: A Fashion Exhibit Reimagining Sustainability

“Crafting Fashion for Possible Futures”: A Fashion Exhibit Reimagining Sustainability

“Sustainability” is a buzzword often used in modern-day fashion culture. As curators for the Austrian Fashion Association, Camille Boyer and Miriam Kathrein have challenged our assumed definition of the term. Kathrein noted, “sustainability is not merely about the process of producing fashion. It is not just about how it is made or what it is made from to be considered a sustainable product.”  

In association with the Austrian Cultural Forum, a new exhibition project has opened. The exhibit is in collaboration with a number of Austrian artists based in Vienna. “Crafting Fashion for Possible Futures” directly engages with the idea of “sustainability” and its relationship to fashion design. The exhibit is on view from June 24th to September 8th, 2022 at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York located in Midtown Manhattan. 

Camille Boyer and Miriam Kathrein presenting their exhibit titled “Crafting Fashion for Possible Futures”

Expanding the definition beyond solely the environment, the exhibition investigates the question of responsibility of fashion to be a conduit for change. Boyer and Kathrein point to fashion design’s potential ability to bring about change for the future. Their conclusion: fashion design can and must reform socio-political, socio-cultural, and socio-economic conditions on a global scale. 

Dress created for the exhibition by artist Flora Miranda

Spanning across the three levels of the exhibit each artwork confronts a particular issue related to sustainability. These issues range from the literal impact of fashion production on the environment to the cultural or political implications of fashion design on the collective. Problems such as gender politics, minority groups, and activism are all considered within Boyer and Kathrein’s notion of sustainability.   

Artist Matthias Winkler presenting his collection of reworked footwear (https://matthiaswinkler.at/)

On the whole, the exhibition highlights the interconnection between people: how the choices individuals make affect others. Boyer and Kathrein frame this truth through fashion design. “Crafting Fashion for Possible Futures” asks its audience to recognize this interrelationship. Using such a dynamic, “Crafting Fashion for Possible Futures” asks its visitors to be conscious of how they relate to fashion and to make choices which reflect sustainability. 

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