Westminster Uni launches menswear research project
What are the connections between British and Italian menswear? We’re told there are “critical gaps” so the University of Westminster is attempting to find out and will deliver an answer in time for London Fashion Week in February 2024.
An international research network launches this month to investigate the cultural and industrial connections between London, Liverpool, Manchester, and Milan and how they’ve influenced the production, display and consumption of British menswear.
Called ‘Locating Menswear’ the research is being is led by Professor Andrew Groves, Director of the Westminster Menswear Archive at the University of Westminster, and Jo Jenkinson from Manchester Fashion Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University. And it’s being achieved in partnership with CP Company, Sevenstore, UKFT and the British Fashion Council.
The international network (funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council) will host a series of workshops and events in the UK and Italy over the course of the next 16 months.
Professor Groves said: "Existing knowledge of British fashion from 1945 onwards has historically focused on designer womenswear, while menswear has remained relatively unexamined, with little research into how it differs in its design, production, or consumption processes. Menswear has been consistently under-researched and underrepresented in dress collections, resulting in a distorted understanding of the history of British fashion and its locations of creation, production, display, and consumption.”
Jenkinson added: “The network's objective is to expand the field of fashion research by bringing together an interdisciplinary network of scholars, practitioners, and fashion intermediaries, in order to begin identifying and addressing critical gaps in knowledge surrounding menswear.”
The network builds on the research already undertaken by Professor Groves who established the Westminster Menswear Archive (WMA) in 2016 and co-curated the Invisible Men exhibition in 2019. The WMA holds over 2,000 menswear garments from 1780 to the present day.
The network's activities will be documented on Instagram at @locating menswear, and in February 2024, an exhibition will be presented during London Fashion Week.
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