High Risk Dressing / Critical Fashion, now on at RMIT’s Design Hub, examines the continued influence of the legendary Fashion Design Council (FDC) on today’s fashion practice.
Based in Melbourne from 1983 to 1993, the FDC was founded by Robert Buckingham, Robert Pearce and Kate Durham to support, promote and provoke avant-garde Australian fashion.
By using the membership-based organisation’s materials held in the RMIT Design Archives as a leaping off point, the exhibition opens up and queries ideas promoted by the FDC while looking at the relevance of the Council to contemporary practice today.
Professor Robyn Healy, co-curator and Head of RMIT’s School of Fashion and Textiles, said the exhibition was not looking back with nostalgia at this rich period of fashion practice.
“The Design Hub has been transformed into a set for a month-long program of fashion provocations, cross-disciplinary exchange and contemporary venturous practice,” she said.
“A new collective of contemporary fashion practitioners is activating the space through a program of fashion presentations, performances, films, publications and residencies.”
Three local architecture practices – Sibling Architecture, Studiobird with Caitlyn Parry and WOWOWA Architecture with Andre Bonnice – have been commissioned to produce scenography that references the creative, social and promotional spaces central to FDC activities – the Office, the Bar and the Shop.
“Each studio has been asked to design a set that captures the shift outlined in the exhibition’s title: from an emerging, provocative, collaborative creative culture to today’s world of internationally-networked, conceptually-driven, contemporary fashion practice,” Healy said.
“The 11 members of the exhibition's critical fashion collective scrutinise fashion, engaging with new forms of technology, social networking or sharing practices to put forward alternative experiences of fashion, how it is consumed as both a concept and a product.”
“The FDC archive – including printed matter, video footage and photographs – will be unpacked, discussed and catalogued in a new archive space designed by Ziga Testen.
“In this zone, we draw on critical reflections from original members of the FDC, as well as other designers, musicians and writers associated with the organisation.”
High Risk Dressing / Critical Fashion is at RMIT’s Design Hub until Thursday 13 April.
Design Hub (corner of Victoria and Swanston Streets, Melbourne) is open Tuesday to Friday, 11am to 6pm, and Saturday, 12 noon to 5pm. Closed Sunday, Monday.
Curatorium: Professor Robyn Healy, Dr Fleur Watson, Kate Rhodes, Nella Themelios. Research Assistant: Laura Gardner. Fashion Practitioners include: Adele Varcoe, Alexandra Deam, Annie Wu, Chorus, D&K, Inside Outside, Laura Gardner, Matthew Linde, PAGEANT, S!X, Winnie Ha Mitford. Scenography designers: Sibling Architecture, Studiobird and Caitlyn Parry, WOWOWA Architecture and Andre Bonnice. Graphic design: Ziga Testen
Story: Louise Handran