From Insect to Couture

Atelier Tamman has a dream:

“Imagine a dress which embodies craftsmanship, art and beauty, and with all this holds a story woven intrinsically into it. I want to create this, wearable art; a haute couture gown made of silk spun and collected from wild and empty cocoons collected from North East India, designed and handmade at Atelier Tamman, London and finally hand painted by the renowned contemporary artist Mikey Georgeson who is collaborating with me on this project.”

The likes of Stella McCartney and Beyond Skin have brought the previously hippie designated vegetarian leather into serious fashion circles yet fair trade and cruelty free silk remains barely heard of in an industry which uses miles of the insect crafted thread and has done so throughout history. It is astounding that despite its extravagant history the conventional process of making silk sees thousands of moths boiled alive for the sake of a length of cloth. As a couturier with a sustainable, ecological and vegan approach, Atelier Tamman has spent the last ten years sourcing fair trade and cruelty free supply chains for silk in India and Nepal.

Illustrations by Georgeson.

Illustrations by Georgeson.

In North East India, cottage industries are aided by the native Eri Silk moth which is often hand reared within bedrooms but still flourishes in the wild. Once a moth has spun a cocoon it leaves through a small hole in the bottom so the cocoon can be ‘found’. Not only is this process mutually respectful but the moths escape mechanism also means longer, more lustrous fibres are produced for processing into more lustrous fabric.

Taking this ecological and stunning silk as inspiration, Tamman aims to create the ultimate sustainable haute couture gown, where the moth is revered. In the build-up to this ultimate aspiration, Tamman has teamed with artist, illustrator and musician Mikey Georgeson for an unprecedented collection of limited edition hand crafted and hand painted accessories including scarves, ties, pocket squares and shift dresses. These limited, luxurious, wearable works of art are rewards for pledges going towards creating the ultimate sustainable gown. Each piece is hand crafted, fair trade and uses the finest Eri silks. The hand painted finishes are the sketches of the final gown.

tamman dress

The final haute couture Georgeson Tammam gown will go £5,000 (worth £8,000) we and be bespoke crafted using the found silk, handmade in the Tammam Atelier and hand painted by Mikey. Due to the limited amount of fabric able to be produced we can only make a maximum of three bespoke Moth in the Flame gowns will be made.


In November next year, everyone can come along to the screening and dress unveiling party at Atelier Tammam in Bloomsbury. Drinks and canapés, a screening of the full Moth in the flame video with Georgeson’s recording of ‘Moth in the Flame’, the soundtrack for this project, and the couture gown will be viewable.

To support fashion most cruelty free gown, see the Moth in the Flame; Wearable Art Kickstarter page.

This entry was published on November 27, 2014 at 17:55. It’s filed under Apple of my Eye, Sartorialists, SSF Considers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.


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