17 July to 11 September 2016

The additional exhibition “S!LK NOW” of the Department of Design (AMD) of the Hochschule Fresenius in Düsseldorf was shown in the German Textile Museum Krefeld. It was dedicated to the different facets of contemporary silk, showed the creative diversity of European textile design, drafts for contemporary fashion design, gave voice to protagonists of silk production and asked about the survival of the Krefeld silk tradition today. S!LK NOW supplemented the central exhibition on the history and development of the noble fiber material with the title “Silk – Textile Splendour from 2000 Years”, which presented the history and design of silk and its path from China to Europe up to the 20th century based on its own collection holdings. 

Last but not least, it is the artistic skills and technological knowledge of the European specialists in silk production, in particular weaving, printing, dyeing, and embroidery, that enable haute couture and its designers to reach creative heights to this day. Around 200 companies in Europe dye, print, embroider, and weave different qualities of raw silk from China and India. This means that 20,000 jobs still depend on silk today, even though the industry is now extremely heterogeneous.

Many former producers are now pure converters, others refine silk with embroideries, prints and applications, and still others have completely shifted to artificial silk and technical textiles. But although Europe’s silk industry has shrunk considerably, silk still embodies something special in fashion and interior design.  

The joint project of the lecturers and students of the study courses Fashion and Design Management, Fashion Design, Brand and Communication Design as well as the training course Fashion Journalism/Media Communication was scientifically accompanied by the fashion and textile historian and AMD lecturer Dr. Uta-Christiane Bergemann. Selected design drafts by students from the Fashion Design course of studies stood for the versatility and topicality of this millennia-old luxury fabric. Interviews and videos of well-known protagonists of the European silk industry, compiled by students of fashion journalism, provided information about the current business and the creative potential of silk. Students from the Brand and Communication Design course translate this information into the graphic and typographic design of the exhibition. 

Thanks to the sponsors: 

Ratti S.p.A., Guanzate (Como), Italy; Mantero Seta, S.p.A., Como, Italy; HOH Hoferhecht Embroidery; Jakob Schlaepfer, St. Gallen, Switzerland; F.lli Lanificio Cerruti, Biella, Italy; Lorma S.r.l., Tavernerio, Italy; Barth & Könenkamp, Bremen; Schäfer & te Neues, Krefeld; F.X. Dutzenberg Comptoir, Krefeld; HWH Textilvertriebs GmbH, Krefeld; Gisbert Rentmeister, Krefeld; and especially to SAHCO Hesslein for the generous donation of silk fabrics for designer dresses.