to fashion

28 Nov 2022 - 14 Apr 2023

to fashion shifts the framing of the word ‘fashion’ from a noun to a verb, fashion as action.

Developed and toured by the New Zealand Fashion Museum (NZFM), this project marks the celebration of the 12th anniversary of this unique online Museum. Over these years the NZFM has shared the stories of the people and clothes that contributed to the development of New Zealand’s unique fashion identity and has made what we wear part of this country’s cultural conversation.

to fashion was initiated to make visible what NZFM have learned so far; that we construct, create and express our identity through what we choose to wear. Engaging with fashion as a verb, rather than a noun, they invited 12 individuals to present themselves through what they wear. For this project the Museum stepped back and instead invited each individual to fashion their own personal appearance in a way that expresses their identity, their culture, and their truth.

They are of diverse ages, sizes, ethnicities and genders reflecting the true character and broad parameters of our contemporary society and providing an opportunity for us all to think about how we use clothing and adornment to express who we are in this richly diverse country. Championing the approach of participant as curator, their process has been recorded and filmed by Robert George and The Raro Dog team and their outcomes have been beautifully documented in a series of full-size portraits by award-winning Samoan/New Zealand photographer Edith Amituanai.

The intention of this project is to stimulate and challenge the existing framing of what is meant by the word fashion, to take our thinking beyond what is shown on the runways of the world and in the High Street shop windows, and to demonstrate a more inclusive model that recognises the wearer's agency in fashioning themselves through what they wear.