rubber report

(Dark) Fashion Collection

Rubber/Silk. Heavy/Light. Natural/Man-Made. Constructed/Draped. Europe/Africa.



Team project with Florian Mathé
Photography: Corina Lecca

After a visit to the Ethnological Museum in Dahlem we reflected on African History and Europe's colonial past. During the research phase, our attention was caught by the Congo and the rubber exploitation under King Leopold II, at the end of the 19th century. We realized how little of this part of History is taught in European schools and how many aspects were hidden from the general public for a very long time.

The pictures we found of that time were shocking and discomforting reminders of Europe’s dark past, then glorified and supposedly humanitarian, while in fact people were enslaved, tortured and killed. Rubber and other natural resources were exploited and sent back to Europe and the rest of the world. There, they where were used to advance the Industrial Revolution while those wo worked for it were left behind.

In this project, we wanted to illustrate this moment in History, to process it and find a respectful sartorial expression for it.