Undercover - From Necessity to Luxury: The Evolution of Face Coverings During COVID-19
CURATED BY PROFESSOR ANDREW GROVES AND DR DANIELLE SPRECHER
11 MAY – 5 JUNE 2021
Opening on 11th May 2021 (one year on from when the UK government first advised people to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces), the exhibition will explore how masks have evolved from being a functional PPE object in short supply, to becoming an everyday object worn by millions. The simple cloth face covering, which appears to be an unassuming and uncomplicated object, has quickly become a symbolic and contentious artefact.
The exhibition will present 52 unique face covers arranged in chronological order. It will examine how rapidly the fashion industry adapted production, manufacturing, and online marketing to meet changing consumer demands. Brands responded quickly to support the global effort to produce PPE for medical personnel. As masks became mandatory, this shifted to labels developing and manufacturing face coverings for their own customers.
It will explore how these ordinary objects have been transformed from their medical origins to become a highly desirable fashion accessory produced by companies ranging from BoohooMAN to Louis Vuitton. While these masks appear to be non-gendered, their design, marketing, and wearing reveal long-running narratives within menswear concerned with ideas of protection, risk, and masculinity.
The exhibition features examples from Adidas, Balenciaga, BoohooMAN, Burberry, C.P. Company, Fakescum, Ahluwalia, Liam Hodges, Mulberry, Raeburn, Christopher Kane, Master-piece, Huntsman, JW Anderson, Levi's, Liberty, Louis Vuitton, Manchester City FC, New & Lingwood, Off-White, Paul & Shark, Paul Smith, Sunspel, Turnbull & Asser, Vivienne Westwood, and WAWWA.
Alongside the main exhibition will be a photographic presentation titled: Undercover. From Necessity to Debris: The Pollution of Face Coverings During COVID-19. Featuring 365 photographs taken over the last year of discarded face coverings in the street, its acts as both an archive of highly disposable material culture and as a reflection on the environmental impact of our response to COVID-19. It will be curated digitally as 365 NFT’s (non-fungible tokens) available on OpenSea, the world's largest marketplace for digital goods.
Invisible Men: An Anthology from the Westminster Menswear Archive
CURATED BY PROFESSOR ANDREW GROVES AND 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.
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.
The Vanishing Art of Camouflage
ANDREW GROVES & ROBERT LEACH
21 OCTOBER – 20 NOVEMBER 2016
LGW is delighted to present The Vanishing Art of Camouflage; co-curated by Andrew Groves, Course Director of BA Fashion, and Robert Leach, Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster.
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.
ROBERT LEACH & ANDREW GROVES
15 MAY – 14 JUNE 2015
An exhibition by Robert Leach, senior lecturer on the BA (Hons) Fashion Design course at the University of Westminster, and Andrew Groves, Course Director for BA Fashion 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.
Archetypes is an expansion of Leach's Thames & Hudson publications, The Fashion Resource Book (2012) and The Fashion Resource Book – Men (2014), in which he explains the exciting process of visual research to the young designer. 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, inter-cut with additional research imagery and student portfolio work.