A look at the history of clothing to reflect on ‘fast fashion’

The textile pieces that are part of the National Museum collections inspired junk dealers, social leaders and designers to create their own suits using clothing balances. Now both collections are exhibited together as a wake-up call on the problems of fast fashion in ‘Fashion with stories’.

Cindy Nuñez, one of the first openly transgender sex workers in the Santa Fe neighborhood in downtown Bogotá, was struck by the outfits worn by women in the 1810s and 1820s, which she was able to see in a Museum catalog. National. “I liked it because it is from the years in which men conquered women by taking them away on horseback, so in order to sit down they had to wear loose, light and soft dresses”Explain.

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So when the time came for her to make her own suit with surplus clothing (clothes that were never sold and have to be discarded) from Fallabella, she decided to emulate one of these dresses, but putting her multicolored style on it. He took the garments and began to cut pieces to assemble two corsets and a long skirt. This last one, she put together at the tip of pants boots and sleeves of long blouses of different colors, although with dark tones and similar figures.

The result, a very well-made dark but multicolored costume, is currently on display at the National Museum of Colombia, along with several original costumes from the time of Independence, and other historical or anthropologically important costumes, in an exhibition called fashions with storieswhich will be open until September 18 and in which, as well as Cindy, another 11 people from downtown Bogotá participate who, inspired by the textile pieces from three museums, created their own costumes.

‘Fashion with stories’ at the National Museum. Photo: Sandra Vargas

The exhibition is the result of a collaborative project between the National Museum and the Gilberto Alzate Avendaño Foundation (FUGA), with its project of the Bronx Creative Districtin which the final idea is to reflect on the environmental and social problems generated by the fast fashion industry, or the fast fashionshowing that many of the pieces that are discarded (or that are bought and accumulated in a closet, until they end up in the trash) can be recycled and reused for new creations.

It is also the result of a co-creation laboratory, as the National Museum calls the spaces in which it invites citizens to build exhibitions in conjunction with the institution and its collections. A laboratory in which the 12 people who participated, and who were chosen through a call, come from the center of Bogotá (because that is the work area of ​​FUGA) and have very different profiles. There are some, like Cindy Nuñez, who are social leaders in the area. Others are designers who have worked for the theater or the fashion industry. And there is also a cultural manager who was a junk dealer.

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Leading the workshop was the designer and art historian Alejandro Crocker, who usually works on the recycling of clothing, and who brought Fallabella to the project, who agreed to deliver her clothing balances without consideration so that the 12 project participants could work on them.

“We provide the participants with information about the different textile and accessory collections of the National Museum of Colombia. From the collections of art, archaeology, ethnography, history, and based on that information, and with the raw material of Fallabella, the workshop was held“, says Andrés Góngora, curator of ethnography at the National Museum and who coordinated the project for that institution.

Fashion with stories. Photo_ LEAK
Cindy Nuñez working on her dress, inspired by women’s costumes from 1810 to 1820. Photo: FUGA

The idea was that each participant would be inspired by this information (which not only spoke of the collections of the National Museum, but also those of the Museum of the XIX Century and the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History ICANH), and used it to create their own costumes using recycled material. In this way, and just as Cincy Nuñez was inspired by the female suits of the 1810s and 1820s, John Gelver Bernal Patiño, a former junk dealer, did so in two elements of power: the tie and the skirt, as well as in the trade that I used to do.

The result of the workshop was 15 different textile pieces: those built by each of the participants and those made by designer Alejandro Crocker himself. In his case, inspired by the work of Gabriel García Márquez.

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Together with these dresses, the textile pieces that are part of the collections of the three museums will also be exhibited. Thus, an unsuspecting visitor will be able to see the dress created by Cindy Nuñez, the original dresses that were used in the 19th century, the liqui-liqui that García Márquez used to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, a bathing suit from 1923 and a necklace from the Kofán people of Putumayo, among many other similar outfits and accessories.

The exhibition will be open to the public on the first floor of the Sala Talleres del Panóptico, in the National Museum.

Fashion Suits with Stories
Fashion with Stories. Photos of Sandra Vargas

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A look at the history of clothing to reflect on ‘fast fashion’