Westminster Menswear Archive Hosts Workwear Focused Exhibition
Opening this October, the University of Westminster has curated an exhibition from their extensive archive that aims to explore the design language of menswear and its traditional focus on practicality. Titled ‘Invisible Men’, the university believes that a large proportion of menswear is invisible in the industry due to repetition of design stemming from its military and technical roots. Through a selection of pieces from the archive, the university hope to display how designers have broken away from this stereotype using subtle yet significant modifications to both replicate and subvert traditional designs.
Westminster Menswear Archive was founded in 2016 to act as a comprehensive resource tool to inform contemporary design practice. The archive holds over 1,700 artifacts spanning a 120-year time period. It focuses mainly on British designers or those that have heavily influenced British menswear.
The exhibition revolves around the modification of workwear and the fetishization of the working man. Although this may be a very prominent genre in menswear, it doesn’t feature in exhibition spaces due to its commonality. Instead flamboyance is favoured, but the university wants to illuminate the importance and inspired nature of these designs.
The exhibition features the work of designers Alexander Mcqueen – including his early menswear designs from 1997 to 1999 – as well as Christian Dior, Helmut Lang and Vivienne Westwood, amongst other prominent names. Contemporary British menswear is also included, with designs from Craig Green, Liam Hodges and A Cold Wall*. ‘Source garments’ - including items from the British Army, the Royal Air Force and Greater Manchester Police - are also made focal to highlight the creative process from source to finished product.
Exhibition dates - 21 October – 24 November 2019
Open Wednesday – Sunday 11am - 7pm
Address - Ambika P3,
University of Westminster,
35 Marylebone Road,
London, NW1 5LS
TEXT BY ISOBEL GORMAN-BUCKLEY