Director: Dylan Howitt
68 mins / 2022 / UK

Textile artist and Brighton-based Allan Brown spends seven years making a dress by hand just from locally foraged stinging nettles.

This is ‘hedgerow couture’, the greenest of slow fashion and also his medicine, how he survives the death of his wife and finds a beautiful way to honour her. A modern-day fairytale and hymn to the healing power of nature and slow craft.

The challenge of making zero carbon clothing sourced within a few miles of his home means re-learning ancient crafts and recalls Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tale 'Wild Swans'.

Beautifully filmed by award winning documentary maker Dylan Howitt, The Nettle Dress follows his whole journey through all the seasons and years. Foraging, spinning, weaving, cutting and sewing the cloth. Finally a healing vision of the dress back in the woods where the nettles were picked, worn by one of his daughters.

'Grasping the Nettle' is at the heart of the film. Making a dress this way becomes devotional, with every thread representing hours of mindful loving craft. Over seven years Allan is transformed by the process just as the nettles are.  It's a kind of alchemy: transforming nettles into cloth, grief into renewal.

A labour of love in the truest sense, The Nettle Dress is a modern-day fairytale and hymn to the healing power of nature and slow craft.

It’s one story representing a huge groundswell of people rediscovering the joys of making.

  • “An exquisite, inspiring film. Extremely beautiful and helpful for anyone suffering loss or grief" - Mark Rylance
  • "If you’ve ever wondered what the earth would have fashion do, this is your answer" - Professor Kate Fletcher, sustainable fashion activist
  • "Craft transformed by imagination into art, like an alchemical allegory" - Patrick Harpur, author
  • "I was spellbound, what I thought was going to be a step-by-step guide turned out to be so much more" - Audience feedback
  • "Mesmerising, like a meditation in nature, idiosyncratic and beautiful" - Audience feedback
  • "I felt I shared in the joy of the dress coming into being, woven with magic and tragedy" - Audience feedback

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