Fashioning Our World

The new Fashioning Our World exhibition features fashion items from the past which tell powerful stories of sustainability.

It’s on from 10 February to 12 May 2024 at Salisbury Museum.

Alongside a selection of clothes and accessories that have been repurposed, mended and loved, the exhibition showcases work by well-known and emerging fashion designers, sustainability experts and students displayed on a series of miniature mannequins.

Amongst others, designers whose work is featured in the exhibition include British fashion design icon Dame Zandra Rhodes, subversive fashion designer Jonny Banger, and designer and writer of a bestselling book on sustainable fashion Orsola de Castro.

Mini whistle dress by Johnny Banger

Included in these is a miniature replica of the famous cape worn on stage by Freddie Mercury from Queen which was designed by Dame Zandra Rhodes. The miniature version has been made for the exhibition by Dame Zandra Rhodes using an off cut of fabric from her studio.

The exhibition has been co-curated with young people who have helped chose the objects on display, plan the themes, and design the information panels. The exhibition is part of a recent project at The Salisbury Museum called Fashioning Our World which is engaging young people with stories of sustainability in the past and supporting them to inspire the community to make positive sustainable choices in the future.

“We are really excited about this exhibition. It has been amazing to work with the young people on this exhibition – they have so many amazing ideas! We have discovered so many stories of sustainability in the collection, we can’t wait for people to be able to see them. We also really appreciate the enthusiasm from the fantastic fashion designers who have contributed to this exhibition. It is brilliant to be able to include their work,” said Katy England Fashioning Our World Project Manager.

The exhibition was officially opened by clothing designer and TV personality Patrick Grant.

Patrick Grant

The Fashioning Our World project was made possible by a grant of £87,828 awarded from The Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund – delivered by the Museums Association. It was also supported by Wessex Museums.

Silk bodice created by the same dressmaker who produced Queen Alexandra’s wedding dress

The project is aiming to inspire other heritage organisations to work in a similar way with their fashion collections. Dorset Museum have run a series of Fashioning Our World sessions for young people linked to their own collection of clothing and accessories.

Embroidered waistcoat, probably word to attend the court of King George III

The Salisbury Museum fashion collection contains over 3,500 items dating from the last 300 years. The garments are from all aspects of life including weddings and christenings, formal occasions, and occupations such as farming and the military. Accessories also form a large part of the collection, and these include fans, brooches, parasols, buttons, gloves, hats and shoes.

The Fashioning Our World project follows on from the previous success of the Look Again project (2018-2021), in which the museum worked alongside young people, volunteers and experts to reinterpret and redisplay the fashion collection. The Look Again project was funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund – delivered by the Museums Association.