Preview: The Fabric of Us @ Manchester Science and Industry Museum – an immersive sustainable fashion experience

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Featured image and gallery: Thea Holmes

Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum is hosting ‘Forward-thinking Fashion’ this month, as part of their ‘After Hours’ series. The creative event will feature a sustainable fashion show exploring Manchester’s place within fashion history, through a “catwalk cabaret of sustainable self-expression and creativity”. 

The Fabric of Us fashion show has been creatively directed and produced by theatre company So La Flair, who will take the audience on a journey through Manchester’s industrial scene over the years, inspired by the individuals who paved the way.

The show’s artistic director, Lucy Laverty, describes So La Flair as a “merry band of huns, activists, makers, performers, deep thinkers and weepers”.

The show is creatively styled by Northern Quarter’s clothing exchange Beg, Steal & Borrow, led by owner Erin Taylor Thomas.

Photography: Erin Taylor Thomas

Both Lucy and Erin felt inspired to produce a show to challenge the devastating global impact of the fast fashion empire. “The process of making the show highlighted how the fast fashion industry is a microcosm of all that is wrong with the industry,” says Lucy.

Lucy describes how the developing consumer culture which values excessive consumption has made it easier for individuals to ignore the environmental impact, suggesting that this behaviour “will drive us into the ground”.

The event incorporates elements of styling, performance, art installations, sound design and more, making it their biggest show yet.

The Fabric Of Us collaborators and audio-visual contemporary dance event and performance collective, Night People. Styled by Beg, Steal & Borrow MCR. Photography: Thea Holmes

“It’s been amazing collaborating with Erin,” Lucy says. “She’s a dream to work with”. The sentiment is shared by Erin, who has been a big fan of the theatre company since its establishment three years ago.

The artists are enthusiastic about being involved in the growing slow fashion legacy in Manchester. Lucy has observed the city becoming a pioneer within the slow fashion movement and feels the show is an extension of this progression.

The Fabric of Us audiences can expect a holistic experience covering everything from a historic working machinery demo, a vintage and sustainable clothing market pop-up, a gallery exhibition, and So La Flair’s live runway show to finish the evening.

One of Leo Krenzer’s many French burlesque characters, Jean De La Mer. Styled by Beg, Steal & Borrow MCR. Photography: Thea Holmes

Lucy says: “Erin has created something which is all about play and expressing yourself, in a way that is joyfully rebellious. There’s something also rebellious in finding your own individual style and going against the mainstream.”

Both creatives want people to walk away from the show feeling empowered to find their own individual style and give themselves permission to celebrate individuality.

Lucy also wants to convey to the spectators of this show that “shopping sustainably is a beautiful response to fast fashion”

Erin wants to encourage “shopping mindfully and shopping small” as a way to help local communities.

This is neatly summarised in the show’s slogan: “Looking good doesn’t need to cost our planet, people, or pockets.”

The over 18s event will take place on Thursday 21st of March at 6:30pm at the Science and Industry Museum. Tickets for the show can be found at

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Caitlin Baber

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