The Nettle Dress
Director: Dylan Howitt
Cast: Allan Brown
Following the loss of his wife, textile artist Allan Brown spends seven years making a dress by hand, just from the fibre of locally foraged stinging nettles.
This is ‘hedgerow couture’, the greenest of slow fashion, and it is also Allan’s medicine. It’s how he survives the death of his wife that left him and their children bereft, and how he finds a beautiful way to honour her.
The documentary follows Allan’s whole journey through all the seasons and years. Foraging, spinning, weaving, cutting and sewing the cloth. The challenge of making zero carbon clothing sourced within a few miles of his home means re-learning ancient crafts and recalls the fairy tale ‘Wild Swans’. Over the years, Allan is transformed by the process just as the nettles are. Making a dress this way becomes devotional, with every thread representing hours of mindful loving craft.
‘Grasping the Nettle’ – the healing vision of the dress back in the woods where the nettles were picked, worn by one of his daughters – lies at the heart the heart of this film, a modern-day fairytale and hymn to the healing power of nature and slow craft.
2022 / UK / 65 mins
BBFC Advice: Contains infrequent strong language