This exhibition, dedicated to sustainability in clothing, offers a fascinating plunge into the immeasurable world of textiles. Each thread becomes a melodious note in the symphony of clothing, orchestrated by a careful selection of some twenty designers, craftspeople and artists. “Weaving the Future, Dressing the Body,” presented at JAD (Jardin de Métiers d’Art et du Design) in Sèvres from 17 January to 21 April 2024, under the direction of Pascal Gautrand, textile expert and founder of Made in Town, transcends the boundaries of time to weave a spellbinding story where textile creation meets responsible innovation.
A minimum of sobriety
The first notes of this chapter sound like a minimalist sonata. Geneviève Sevin-Doering’s work, which began in the 1960s, focuses on a simple rule: design garments cut in a single piece, breaking with the classic Western system of pattern construction centred on the assembly of multiple elements. In this vein, Stéphanie Coudert uses a similar principle to sculpt a new fluidity around the body by minimising the number of seams. Consume less but better: over the years, artist Marie-Ange Guilleminot has pursued her quest for the ideal wardrobe by revisiting timeless garments where gesture and use become part of the fabric of time, replacing the ephemeral notion of trends. Jeanne Vicérial, for her part, presents an innovative knitting technique that enables the programmed construction of garments from a single thread, minimising the use of material. The clothes designed by these visionary designers evoke a pared-down elegance that underpins a rebellion against consumerist frenzy. Each piece becomes a score dedicated to sustainability, reminding us that the essential can be as sumptuous as the extravagant.
The use of re-use
In this chapter, reuse becomes visual poetry. Pieces of clothing are resurrected from the past, transforming forgotten materials into contemporary works of art. A presence on the catwalks of Paris Fashion Week from the late 1990s, thanks to designers such as Daniel Jasiak, textile reuse has gradually become the driving force behind certain approaches to clothing design, notably through the rehabilitation of practices such as patchwork or boro, an ancestral Japanese technique derived from the Japanese “boroboro”, which means “tattered or patched”. The streetwear approaches of Andrea Crews and Aalto offer collections that incorporate clothing from second-hand clothes or unsold stock, reused, recut, transformed and recomposed to give them a second life. One example is the 1083 brand, whose collections include a line of “Volontaire” jumpers, in partnership with the Fédération nationale des sapeurs-pompiers, regenerated from the used jumpers worn by French firefighters and transformed using the expertise of Filature du Parc and the Regain knitting factory, new transformation channels, often traced, are being built, offering new opportunities to weave bridges between past and present, celebrating human ingenuity and the art of making materials last. While textile designer Aurélia Leblanc strips jeans to reuse faded threads in her jacquard weavings, Anaïs Beaulieu’s embroidered pieces sublimate the most modest materials and elevate them to the status of luxury items thanks to the exceptional skills they bring to bear.
Back to Naturalness
The conclusion of this textile epic resonates like a hymn to nature. Natural fibres – European linen, cotton, French wool – and plant-based dyes weave a web of harmony. Each piece becomes an ode to biodegradability, a celebration of Earth-friendly traditions. The Depestele Group recounts the origins of European linen production, and Daniel Jasiak highlights its versatility in an original patchwork dress that mixes linen weavings and jerseys. For their part, Le Passe-Trame, Marelha and Maison Izard demonstrate the multiple possibilities of creating new fabrics by using French wool from sheep farms, which are mainly used for food production but whose fleeces can still be used in textile manufacture. Here again, 1083 is showing its ingenuity by going into our wardrobes to find jeans we no longer wear, in order to produce new blue yarns that contribute to the production of 100% French denim by weaving them with unbleached virgin cotton grown in the Gers. Finally, Sandrine Rozier and Aurore Thibout are immersing themselves in the ancestral practices of natural dyeing to reinvent their future and democratise their use, with the production of stage costumes as their laboratory. Here, each seam becomes a poem, writing the future in sustainable, eco-responsible colours.
“Tisser l’avenir, habiller le corps” is not simply an exhibition, but an invitation to explore the hidden treasures of the textile soul, where each garment becomes the living story of an industry, an interdependent chain of varied skills. Every fibre, every thread, every fabric, every seam, every creation is a love letter to the garment, evoking a rich past, a vibrant present and a promising future. Come and let yourself be enveloped by the magic of interwoven threads that transcend clothing design to weave a more responsible future for the societies that consume them.