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Knowing Cotton Otherwise: Flipping the Script

The closing chapter of Fashion For Good Museum’s must-see exhibition

Open Now! The final chapter of the must-see exhibition “Knowing Cotton Otherwise” has arrived. This closing chapter, titled “Flipping the Script”, invites visitors to once more question the deep-rooted, historically pertinent story of cotton. Opened on the 22nd of June and running until October 16th, Fashion for Good Museum presents to us a thought-provoking and culturally enriching collection of work.

Last year, we saw the exhibition’s first two stages of this artistic and socially conscious journey into cotton’s problematic past. Both phases constructed an informative introduction to the perspectives around cotton, reflecting its burdened history and detrimental impact on the drive towards sustainability. However, whilst shining a spotlight on the issues within this troubled industry, the exhibition also provided innovative solutions within the wider fashion and cultural landscape.

We are now welcomed by the third and final chapter ‘Flipping the Script’, which urges us to rethink the ever-present existence of cotton in our everyday lives. Within this, they beckon us to look inside our wardrobes and question how ethical the clothes we wear really are. Here, what we might have once labelled as a ‘classic’ style is flipped and re-constructed throughout the exhibition collection. And so, by moving away and dissolving conventions and pre-held conceptions, the exhibition is able to give voice to a narrative that has been historically silenced.

This final chapter of the exhibition features two installations by designers Angelo Carlo Marcus Elizabeth and Nsimba Valene Lontanga. Angelo transports visitors to Curacao; a country he treasures, woven with dear memories of spending time in his grandmother’s garden. Through her inspiration in his life, the installation forms an ode to her presence which gracefully rests within his work. Angelo equally dedicates this collection to heroine and freedom fighter, Virginia Dementrica, naming the collection 1863, as a reference to the year slavery was abolished in the Netherlands Antilles, voicing his work’s exploration of the “complex relationship with slavery and the resilience of Black Women”. The ambition behind this collection is therefore to transform the motif of his ‘Guardian’ into an iconic figure which reflects the timelessness of the houndstooth pattern or Paisley print used within the garments on display. For Angelo, fashion is a “powerful medium to convey messages, evoke emotions, and create connections with people from different backgrounds”, therefore through this culturally empowering message, he explains how the collection aims to “contribute to a more conscious and compassionate fashion industry”, highlighting the vitality of sustainability in fashion.

Alongside Elizabeth, is Nsimba Valene Lontanga, whose installation focuses on celebrating her Congolese heritage. “When I talk about sustainability, it always starts with the people I involve, how we can create sustainable relationships, and how we can make sure that everyone can live and sustain their life” she introduces her work; a collection that showcases a range of clothing styles crafted by Ghanaian tailors using traceable and sustainable cotton sponsored by Supima cotton manufacturers in the US. Diving deeper, Lontanga expresses, “we tell stories in order to live, to connect, to belong”, as her work aims to highlight the collective drive towards sustainable methods pairing this closely with the stories of her ancestors.  Ultimately, for Lontange, “it’s about showcasing my work and an African story in a way that doesn’t have to do anything with a traditional context”, she explains, “African styles, no matter from which year, are relevant for the time that we are living in now because they have so much influence on how we are moving now.”

The exhibition fosters dialogue, play, and wonder, inspiring interaction. Through a blending of the worlds of art, design, history and science, Fashion For Good Museum has created a must-see interactive space for exploration. The Knowing Cotton Otherwise exhibition is open to the public until the 16th of October 2023 in the Fashion for Good Museum at Rokin 102 in Amsterdam, so make sure to get there ASAP! Visitors are also invited to an evening of celebration on the 29th of September, honouring all the artists, and closing the exhibition with a bang. RSVP here to join the celebration!


Fashion For Good Museum

Knowing Cotton Otherwise: Flipping the Script

22nd June until October 16th, get tickets here!



Knowing Cotton Otherwise: Finissage

Friday, September 29 · 7 – 10 pm CEST, RSVP here!


Words by Glamcult

Photography by Ashley Röttjers