Reconstruction is the most important exhibition of contemporary fashion that the British Council has presented in recent years. The exhibition travelled to five countries between 2011 and 2012. It started in October last year from Kazakhstan and was hosted in Pakistan in March 2012 after travelling to Uzbekistan and Bangladesh and was finally showcased in Russia in May 2012.
The exhibition was showcased in Karachi from 11 to 16 March 2012 at Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture and in Lahore from 27 to 31 March 2012 at the Lahore Museum. These exhibitions were open to public and also included workshops, talks and seminars for fashion and art students.
Reconstruction showed that fashion is not just a product for trade and commerce, but is a means to test and communicate ideas.
Reconstruction celebrated the work of seven leading UK fashion designers. Their collections differed markedly, but their work demonstrated a shared approach: a skilful distillation of elements of their respective pasts — either personal moments or a collective cultural heritage — to create contemporary garments with narrative.
Some of British fashion’s most internationally renowned designers were represented including Hussein Chalayan, Peter Jensen, Sophia Kokosalaki, Marios Schwab, Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood and Osman Yousefzada.
Their individual spheres of reference are as diverse as religion, vernacular architecture, colour, indigenous craft and new technology; and as abstract as migration, or feelings of isolation and fear. The designers all live in the UK, but they have links to wider international communities which they consciously explore in their work.
The influence of these designers, combined with the ambitious creativity of the UK’s own, visibly contributes to London’s reputation as one of the major fashion capitals in the world. The designers here perpetuate this reputation and demonstrate the ability to be commercially successful whilst reconstructing fragments of their past to transmit an authentic sense of a place or community today.