This Friday, October 19th, the V&A Museum in London hosted its landmark runway shows for the public. This ongoing programme of activity aims to highlight rising fashion talent and has previously included Alexander McQueen, Molly Goddard, and Erdem.
This year, the four free catwalks presented the work of Mexican designer, Carla Fernández. In her UK debut, the designer showcased work inspired by the rich textile heritage of Mexico’s indigenous communities. Fernández shared pieces from five collections specially prepared for the show. The catwalks were accompanied by a live chorus reciting Fernández’s manifesto of ‘Fashion as Resistance,’ highlighting the designer’s commitment to intersectionality and social justice.
Born in Mexico, Fernández has been a professor at MIT and a Prince Claus laureate. She was the Young Fashion Entrepreneur in the Year 2008 by the British Fashion Council. She has had solo exhibitions at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA; Americas Society, NY; Museo Jumex, Mexico City; and this December will be honored with the Design Visionary Award by Design Miami.
Carla Fernández is at the forefront of ethical fashion, working with female artisans to keep traditions alive and support local artisans. She uses traditional techniques and processes in her designs such as backstrap-loom weaving, natural dyeing, embroidered motifs, and unique geometric structuring, pleating, and folding. This has led to extremely original designs which depart from the western canon and bring fresh textures and silhouettes to contemporary fashion.
About the shows, Fernández told us: “We make fashion alongside people whose roots are in the earth from which they sustain themselves. In Mexico, we use fabrics that were woven to be treasured. We create few of them, and we do so slowly. We understand that artisans require time to think, time to learn, and time to transform and transcend. It is important that the V&A is providing this platform because it gives us a very special opportunity to show that another fashion system is possible.”
Fashion in Motion coincided with the critically acclaimed exhibition on Frida Kahlo at the V&A. – GM
Photography courtesy of V&A Museum and Carla Fernández