Exhibition design by Sophie Douala.
Image by Alina Krasieva.
22 JUNE 2023
AMSTERDAM – The Fashion for Good Museum opens its doors for the final chapter of the ‘Knowing Cotton Otherwise’ exhibition. Titled ‘Flipping the Script’, this closing chapter challenges the Eurocentric narrative around notions such as “classic” style or “basic” wardrobe staples, inviting visitors to reconsider what cotton represents to us all around the world.
Last year, we introduced Knowing Cotton Otherwise, a multidisciplinary exhibition exploring cotton’s multifaceted nature: a well- known and versatile fabric that is, however, also deeply rooted in the history of slavery. The exhibition reflected on this burdened history as well as on sustainable and innovative solutions within the wider fashion and cultural landscape, offering alternative standpoints to the challenges of cotton production and consumption.
The first phase of the exhibition painted an introductory overview of perspectives around cotton. In February we entered the second phase, Bodies of Work, focused on human labour and (non) human entities, as well as on the use and re-use of cotton in fashion and technology. The third and final phase, Flipping the Script, which opens on June 23rd, challenges the Eurocentric narrative around concepts such as ‘classic’ style or ‘basic’ wardrobe staples by flipping the narrative and by giving space to voices that have historically been put on the sidelines.
Installation by Sha’mira Covington. Curative: Confronting and Healing the Fashion-Industrial Complex.
Image by Elzo Bolman.
Angelo Elizabeth teleports us to his happy place: the island of Curaçao where he was born and where he spent many dearly treasured hours in the blossoming garden of his grandmother. It is in her honour, as well as in honour of resistance heroine Virginia Dementricia, that he created his graduation collection 1863, referring to the year slavery was officially abolished in Surinam and the former Netherlands Antilles. Through the collection he introduces us to his ‘Guardian’ pattern. Angelo has the ambition of transforming this motif into an iconic one, reminiscent of the timelessness of the houndstooth pattern or the Paisley print.
Like Angelo Elizabeth, Nsimba Valene Lontanga celebrates the women who play a role in her life, like the aunties from Congo, where her roots lie. For Knowing Cotton Otherwise: Flipping the Script, Lontanga has designed a modular capsule collection of style staples, including, amongst others, a wrap dress combination that can be worn in various ways. The items are made by Ghanaian tailors, out of all-white & traceable eco-cotton sponsored by Supima cotton manufacturers based in the US, and challenge us to re-think concepts like ‘sustainability’ and trends inspired by ‘auntie style’.
Knowing Cotton Otherwise is open to the public from 24 June 2023 until 16 October 2023 in the Fashion for Good Museum at Rokin 102 in Amsterdam.