The Victoria and Albert Museum is an iconic building located in the heart of Knightsbridge. With 145 galleries, it is the world’s largest museum of decorative art and design. The OKA flagship store is just a stone’s throw away and so we thought it would be rude not to have a peek at their current exhibition, Fashioned from Nature. The natural world is an omnipresent feature in OKA design, whether it’s our intricate floral printed cushions, our tropical fern-shaped jugs or our decorative artichokes. Fashioned from Nature explores this intriguing and, at times, tumultuous history between fashion and nature.
Botanicals are a prominent theme throughout fashion history, especially during the explosion of travel in the 19th century when more unusual and fascinating designs came into existence. The introduction of the railway created opportunities for all classes to travel and learn about foreign flora and fauna. The exhibition showcased designs such as hummingbird earrings, dresses adorned with thousands of beetle wings and waistcoats decorated with illustrations of macaque monkeys, all of which would have been the height of fashion.
These transitional times brought innovative new advancements as well as damaging consequences. During the industrial revolution the introduction of mass production wreaked havoc on the environment. In the case of one large-scale cotton factory near Glasgow, the fumes from the bleaching process rose up and reacted with the moisture casuing acid rain.
The exhibition offered fascinating insights into the evolution of the fashion industry and its effects on society and language. For example: the saying ‘as mad as a hatter’ comes from the traces of mercury found in the felt hats which poisoned the hatters and caused trembling and anxiety.
Thankfully, the process of dying materials and replicating animals has been improved drastically, so that you can be both fashionable and earth-conscious. OKA brings the wonders of the natural world into your home with a collection that spans from our exotic leopard candle holders to our quirky okra salt and pepper shakers. Fashioned from Nature runs until 27 January 2019