Food is an essential part of life. Beyond filling your belly, it tells our history, brings people together, and even inspires artistic expression. The Museum at FIT (MFIT) is presenting a new exhibit called “Food & Fashion” that features over 80 food-inspired garments and accessories. There, you’ll get to learn how food and food culture has impacted fashion design throughout history, and how food themes and motifs are used as commentary for larger concepts like gender, consumerism, sustainability, social activism, and body politics.
Using design to address issues is a great way to get a message out, and fashion is no different. Some of the designs showcased come from luxury labels like Chanel, Moschino, and Stella McCartney.
Visitors will be greeted by a breakfast-to-dinner themed introduction called “A Day of Food as Fashion.” It’s broken into five sections and presented in the form of tableaus that explore how food has inspired clothing. From the kitchen to today’s social media-obsessed foodie culture, it sets the tone for the larger exhibit that awaits.
The main exhibit is where you’ll get to see all the eye-catching clothes; there are 10 themes from different eras. Some highlights include Moschino’s “Over 20 Billion Served” ensemble from Fall 2014, a super fly all-over print Levi Strauss and Co. "Fresh Produce” tee from 1975, and a humorously fashionable PB&J sandwich hat made of sheepskin and embroidery among the expansive and stylish exhibit.
One theme is called “We Eat What We Are” and examines cultural representation in food and dress. It features an ensemble by Tremaine Emory, most popularly known as Denim Tears, and former creative director at Supreme. He partnered with Sky High Farms Workwear to create a collection that celebrates the foods he grew up eating in Jamaica, Queens, like okra and black-eyed peas.
There’s also a pair of sneakers from Shoe Bakery, a pastry-inspired custom shoe company that we covered last year. From sequins made from fish-gelatin to leather alternatives made from pineapple waste, you’ll discover that food has inspired some pretty awesome fashion.
The “Food & Fashion” exhibit is free and currently on display at The Museum at FIT (MFIT) until November 26. It was curated by Melissa Marra-Alvarez, MFIT’s curator of education and research, and Elizabeth Way, the museum’s associate curator of costume.