Professor Andrew Groves, Dr Danielle Sprecher


25 October – 24 November 2019


Drawing exclusively from the Westminster Menswear Archive, Invisible Men covers the last 120 years of predominately British menswear through the display of over 170 garments, the majority of which have never been seen on public display. Invisible Men will the most extensive exhibition devoted to menswear to be staged in the UK.


Opening in October 2019, this four-week exhibition is arranged into twelve sections, presenting designer garments alongside military, functional, and utilitarian outfits. It explores the design language of menswear, which predominately focuses on the replication of repeats archetypal functional garments intended for specific industrial, technical or military use.


Invisible Men will illustrate how designers have disrupted these conventions through minimal, yet significant modifications to produce outcomes that both replicate and subvert their source material. Through this approach, the language of menswear has developed an almost fetishistic appreciation of the working man in all his heroic iterations, referencing the clothing of seafarers, soldiers, athletes, firefighters, road workers, and explorers. 


The endless replication, appropriation and interpretation within menswear has meant that the meaning and function of the original archetypes has faded through each reiteration.


This design strategy has, for the most part, allowed men and what they wear to avoid scrutiny: these garments have remained invisible within fashion exhibitions in favour of presenting menswear largely as the story of the dandy or the peacock male.


This exhibition aims to shine a light on these invisible men.


In 1971, Cecil Beaton presented Fashion: An Anthology at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Under the connoisseurship of a bon vivant, fashionable modern dress received its first museological moment.


Now in 2017 over 50 contemporary designers were included in a new anthology of 2000s fashion, curated by Matthew Linde and organized by Ludlow 38’s curatorial resident Saim Demircan at MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38 and Mathew Gallery.


Fashion during the 2000s could be described as a period of hybrid subcultural styles remixing former selves, championing the principle of individual expression. The decade also saw the industry of fast-fashion massively expand its market, proliferating the presence of smart-casual wear. As such, fashion during this time embodied the conflicting roles of both globalization and homogeneity alongside pastiche and pluralism.


However, what makes fashion from the aughts so debatable to define is its proximity to the present. It is only through the machine of history that fashion finds its protagonists. How to define a recent history of fashion? In an effort to obstruct our tendency to assign a specific style to a decade, The Overworked Body: An Anthology of 2000s Dress surveys the iconoclastic to the underground, the everyday to the critical, and presents a period in fashion that is overloaded and overworked.​


Against a contemporary backdrop of ceaseless military action, camouflage has been adopted by civilians as a ubiquitous pattern of our lives, adorning runways, sportswear, skateboards, toilet papers and even condoms.


Used for its striking designs, its ‘patterned disorder’ and its symbolism, the exhibition explores its artistic, fashionable and political use as a strategic and aspirational means to make the visible invisible, and paradoxically the unseen seen.


Using examples that illustrate the development of camouflage from its early military beginnings at the turn of the twentieth century through its varied relationships with artists and designers, the exhibition incorporates still imagery and film to examine the stylistic, sociological, and political context; analysing its ubiquitous appropriation – from fashion to art to architecture.


Featuring a range of historical military garments alongside their adaptive high-end fashion versions, the exhibition also includes a selection of unusual artefacts that have adapted camouflage for their own means, and questions the neutrality of blending in as a means of survival.


The Vanishing Art of Camouflage is the first exhibition to draw extensively from the newly created Westminster Menswear Archive. The archive has been founded for the purpose of establishing a collection of garments and related artefacts to encourage and develop the study of menswear design from a technical and functional point of view. The archive is also intended to advance the general knowledge of menswear as a design discipline, and to be used as a resource tool to inform contemporary menswear design. 


The exhibition explores the role played by archetypal garments in the modern fashion design process, explaining their sociological, political and stylistic contexts, and their re-appropriation; both as items of clothing and as pieces of functional design in their own right.


Six archetypal garments are featured; a Duffle Coat, a Denim Jacket, a Leather Biker, a Military Field Jacket, an MA1 Flying Jacket and a Trench Coat. Each has a rich history, borne from a function, appropriated by fashion and subculture and constantly reinvented for the fashion market.


Alongside each of the original archetypes are the outcomes of the study of those garments by students at the University. Moving imagery locates them in an expanded visual and historic context, including catwalk footage and film extracts, intercut with additional research imagery and student portfolio work.


This exhibition seeks to make connections between London’s creative past and the present day. For example, was early YBA, in fact, an extension of 80s DIY culture? Is there a connection between Gilbert & George through the artist/poet David Robilliard to Trojan and Leigh Bowery and from there to Alexander McQueen?


Deploying over fifty vitrines, alongside video works, installations and billboard-sized images, the project brings together a wide range of multi-disciplinary practice including art, fashion, graphics, craft and design, highlighting the idea that distinct and differing art forms can exist in the same space at the same time.


The timeline set by this project spans the moment when 80s counterculture would arguably enter the mainstream and the London underground scene, ravaged by AIDS, would eventually be co-opted by a rising tide of commercialisation. In illustrating the path taken by London’s alternative scene, the project explores counterculture today and what emerging artists have in common with their countercultural forebears.


A Journey Through London Subculture: 1980s to Now is curated by ICA Executive Director Gregor Muir.


To mark the 60th anniversary of ArtEZ’s Fashion Department, Lidewij Edelkoort has invited 60 students from Europe’s best fashion schools to take the pulse of emerging design talent.


ArtEZ (curated by Lenn Cox) will be joined by other students investigating clothing and ideas: Florence’s Polimoda (curated by Linda Loppa), Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts (curated by Walter van Beirendonck), and London’s Central Saint Martins (curated by Louise Wilson) and Royal College of Art (curated by Iain Webb).


Lidewij Edelkoort has selected ten additional students from AMFI (Amsterdam), HKU (Utrecht) and KABK (Den Haag). A fashion show will take place on  M°BA 13′s opening night, June 8th in the Eusebius Church.


Acquired by The Fashion Museum in Bath in 2013, this hand-painted sheepskin coat was one of the central pieces from the A/W 1999/2000 collection The Diaspora, shown at London Fashion Week in February 1999. 


The Fashion Museum holds a world-class collection of contemporary and historic dress.


The Museum of Costume was opened in the Assembly Rooms on 23 May 1963. It was founded by Doris Langley Moore, a designer, collector, writer and scholar, who gave her famous private collection of costume to the city of Bath.


The Fashion Museum is owned by Bath and North East Somerset Council and is managed by the Heritage Services section.


Fashionably Curious is a new exhibit being held at 18 Stafford Terrace, Kensington, London,  also known as Linley Sambourne House as it is the former home of the Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne, a relative of the furniture designer Viscount Linley and photographer Lord Snowdon. 


The exhibition is curated by the final year Fashion History & Theory BA students at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and uses the space to create a ‘through the looking glass’ contemporary fashion adventure in the perfectly preserved Victorian house. 


2014        Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!, Somerset House, London
2013        PAPER #7 'Performing Paper', Paper Gallery, Manchester
2013        Hurray! – MoBA 13, Arnhem, Netherlands
2013        Dark Florals, Rapid Response exhibition, The Fashion Museum, Bath
2010        Fashionably Curious - Linley Sambourne House, London
2009        Chris Moore - 25 Years of British Fashion, Somerset House, London
2008        Denim – The Fabric of Our Lives, The Hub. Sleaford, England
2001        London Fashion Week – Catwalk presentations, London
2000        Hong Kong Fashion Week – Catwalk show, Hong Kong
2000        London Fashion Week – Catwalk presentations, London
1999        New British Design - The Mall, London
1999        London Fashion Week – Catwalk presentations, London
1999        British Fashion Exhibition - Design Museum, London
1999        New British Fashion – Islington Design Centre, London
1998        London Fashion Week – Catwalk presentations, London
1998        Design Week Exhibition – Fashion Installation, London
1997        London Fashion Week – Catwalk presentations, London
1996        Street Style Exhibition – Victoria & Albert Museum, London
1996        Street Style Exhibition – Moda Florence, Italy