The exhibition De.Fash.Struction explores ways of documenting the United Arab Emirates’ rich cultural heritage through the medium of contemporary fashion, employing the techniques of deconstruction.
In their newly commissioned projects for this exhibition, the designers document the country’s story through a detailed process of research. They took inspiration from features of the local environment such as the coastline, as well as native agricultural methods, the desert way of life, indigenous architecture and Emirati dress codes and cuisine.
The designers also researched craft skills, highly prized in the UAE; these include talli, safeefa and sadu. They also examined traditional cultural practices including fishing, sailing, pearling, falconry, the cultivation of date palm trees and horse and camel racing.
The exhibited designs takes these cultural narratives as source material using the deconstruction technique. Deconstruction in fashion implies an undoing of the structure of a garment, a refusal to ‘finish’ it. It suggests working with subtractions or displacements and a rethinking of the function and meaning of the garment itself, which might even appear to be coming apart. Deconstruction techniques enable a dialogue with the past that allows designers to imagine new futures. A recurring motif of deconstruction fashion is the reversal of the relation between the body and the garment and the use of humble or recycled materials. It challenges the relationship between memory and modernity, the enduring and the ephemeral. Garments call attention to the mechanics of their production which in turn becomes a process of analytic creation.
The exhibition includes womenswear, menswear, abayas, jewellery, leather goods, accessories, shoes, bags, textile design and installation. Documentation of the designers’ research and design process will also be shown. De.Fash.Struction will feature the work of emerging and established designers based in the UAE, the Gulf region and beyond.