Feathers, Fashion + Ethics
Time & Location
About the event
Shining a spotlight on the vexed, historical relationship between fashion, science and nature. The basements of Manchester Museum and Art Gallery contain thousands of exotic bird skins, and many hundred Victorian and Edwardian feathered hats. What can we learn from this legacy? How do we justify 'specimen hunting'? What is meant by ethical fashion today, and how can we influence it?
Tessa Boase brings human tales from the archives on the historic plumage trade, its invisible female labour and the trade in ‘fake’ egret feathers. See rare images from Manchester’s ‘murderous millinery’ collection (100 feathered hats stored in Manchester Art Gallery alone).
Rachel Webster, natural history curator at Manchester Museum, on the other uses of Victorian birdskins. Can science justify ‘specimen’ hunting – and how are those stuffed birds used today?
Dr Patsy Perry, reader in Fashion Marketing at MMU on how consumers are still tempted with un-ethical products, and the push-back against fashion’s troubling environmental footprint.
Bukky Baldwin, Manchester designer, on what ethical fashion looks like in practice – and why she’s trying to do things differently.