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Sustainable Thinking

Museo Salvatore Ferragamo : Digital Exhibition Highlights

Last April, Florence, Italy’s Museo Salvatore Ferragamo opened its exhibition, Sustainable Thinking. The multi-room show offered an extremely comprehensive overview of sustainability’s relationship not only to the Ferragamo brand, but to fashion and art history at large. The insightful, interactive experience took its viewers through a hopeful range of possibilities for the future of sustainable fashion from designers to innovative textiles. A year later, with the museum doors closed until further notice, the research and historical knowledge that this exhibition offered remain increasingly relevant and important. Luckily for us, a handful of the exhibition’s highlights are available to us digitally.

The exhibition online is not the immersive museum experience, but a highly educational one to revisit this Earth Week. Part of Museo Ferragamo’s unique insight was the display of sustainable resources used in fashion in history, proving that the movement hasn’t progressed linearly over time, but spiked in times of need. A stand out, for example, is the wide move to materials such as cork and hemp (or other materials we would today dub “sustainable”) in Ferragamo shoes during wartime in effort to save valuable resources. In this way, the exhibition begs the question of what has the power to mobilize people.

We now find ourselves in a moment that many people have compared to “wartime”, and it is becoming increasingly clear that the fashion world will be influenced greatly because of it. As such, it might be worth revisiting Sustainable Thinking and its aim to provide, “...an opportunity for artists, fashion designers, textile and yarn manufacturers to offer a plurality of gazes inspiring new projects capable of using new technologies rather than submitting to them, of adopting a global approach, and of safeguarding our ecosystem”.

The Museo Salvatore Farragamo website offers a brief overview as well as images of several pieces from historical archived garments to recent works in contemporary art. A visit to the site during this unique Earth Week will not give us heart-breaking statistics on climate change, but an optimistic view on sunstainability’s relationship to art and fashion, perhaps acting as a source of inspiration moving forward.

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