Nature influences everything, including Fashion

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‘I have always loved the mechanics of nature and to a greater or lesser extent my work is always informed by that.’- Alexander McQueen

Humans have looked to nature for inspiration since the beginning of time. The term biomimicry appeared as early as 1982 and is defined as the science that explores nature to solve human problems. Otto Schmitt, an American inventor described bio-mimetics as the “transfer of ideas from biology to technology”.

Fabric manipulationhas allowed for visual biomimicry within the fashion and textile industry. It is a technique that involves the reshaping and modification of a fabric surface. Over several decades, this technique was commonly used to give form and dimension to a flat fabric surface. Whilst the techniques are old, fashion designers and textile artists todayare still using these practices to incorporate more life into the fabric,producinga fabric with volume, fullness, and an elite aesthetic.

Designers and textile artists have now developed several biomimicry techniques,creating fabric structures that have an organic and irregular feel. Inspiration is taken from familiar structures like fish scales, tree bark, and other textured surfaces.

In 2015, McQueen’s ‘Savage Beauty’ collections were exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The museum itself stated that throughout his many collections, McQueen has always used nature as his inspiration.McQueen believed that nature itself is a work of art. Romanticism was also a predominant element that inspired McQueen’s designs. Taking lead from artists such as Thomas Cole and William Blake,which led him towards the darker side of nature and religion. He often used these elements as a bridge to link his inspiration of nature to clothing, which triggered the creation of garments with powerful meanings.

Since his death, the new creative director, Sarah Burton, has provoked many messages that highlight the McQueen legacy in connection to his nature influences. Burton believes that “inspiration comes from everywhere” and uses “Britain’s natural world” as well as the“British landscape” to inspire her collections. In Burton’s recent interview with Vogue Magazine, she describes the SS19 collection as portraying the “relation between the visuals of nature and the connection us humans have with the land”. Throughout this, Burton explores nature’s importance by juxtaposing elements of nature within the technicalities of the garment, ensuring that the theme and elements of nature are significant throughout.

Nature has influenced artists, scientists, designers, architects, and many others for centuries. As Burton said, “inspiration comes from everywhere”. It is almost inconceivable that nature would not be ingrained into everything we do as humans. We, and everything around us, are nature in its essence. The fascination with forests, seas, wildlife, and the sky doesn’t seem to ebb. With its perfect ability to live, evolve, grow, and die in harmony with each other. Understandably the most remarkable thing we have and the obvious ultimate inspiration.

Some of the most renowned designers and brands around the world, including – Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, and Rahul Mishra, have various collections that reflect the essence of nature. For centuries now, certain patterns and designs inspired by nature have been embedded into the fashion industry. Here are six designs that are either an essential or a statement piece that would be found in multiple wardrobes around the world.

Be it outfits, accessories or jewelry, every aspect of fashion portrays a part of nature. Westford University College offers its HND Art & Design students as well as those who pursue a Diploma in Fashion, with deeper insight into the fashion industry. The courses commence with an introduction to fashion and designing, gradually converting students into experts who are encouraged to showcase their creativity and enhance their talent through the institution’s facilities.

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