Designer Stella McCartney from the United Kingdom exchanged with artisans Oshadi from India to create a bespoke look for The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange - an initiative for established and emerging fashion talent from across the Commonwealth’s 53 countries to showcase the power and potential of artisan fashion skills to deliver new networks, trade links and highlight sustainability.
Stella has created a gown using Oshadi’s peace silk, produced using ancient hand-weaving techniques, and naturally dyed by local skilled craftsmen in Tamil Nadu. Peace silk is reeled from empty cocoons, meaning that silkworms are left to hatch into moths before the silk is spun from the cocoons in a way similar to spinning wool. It takes a weaver one day to create 5m of hand woven peace silk using a hand loom, compared to hundreds that can be produced by machine.
The look was displayed at Buckingham Palace and the Australian High Commission, London. Both exhibitions were curated by VOGUE's Editor-at-Large, Hamish Bowles.
The project was launched by Commonwealth Secretary General the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland and Livia Firth, founder of sustainability consultancy Eco-Age and supported by Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and MATCHESFASHION.COM.