Fashion & Freedom

Many things have changed during the past century. There have been major geographical changes, as well as transformations concerning citizens’ ways of living and thinking. The economy has changed. Politics has changed. Art has changed. Even fashion has changed.

British society suffered as well, especially during war time. As men went to fight on the frontline, women had to take over jobs such as ambulance drivers, bus conductors, window cleaners, office clerks or they even had to work in factories. Thus, they began a whole different life.

First World War had its impacts on women’s role and on fashion, as the famous Parisian Haute Couture started to fade, the well-known silhouette with boned-laced corset was replaced with something more masculine, like jumpsuits, trousers, military wear.

Fashion & Freedom draws attention to effects of the First World War on women’s lives and style. The exhibition brings together at Manchester Art Gallery contemporary pieces by Vivienne Westwood, Roksanda, Holly Fulton, Emilia Wickstead, J JS Lee and Sadie Williams. It also features creations by undergraduate students from leading fashion colleges around the UK.

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Student designs showcase contemporary lens at Fashion & Freedom
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Vivienne Westwood’s AW06/07 look remade for Fashion & Freedom
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Collection of looks on display at Fashion & Freedom 
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Student, Sarah Curtis, was inspired by women undertaking strenuous jobs in the First World War who played football to stay fit.
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Roksanda Ilinic’s piece for Fashion & Freedom was inspired by the plight and pride of the female munitions workers in the First World War.

“Fashion & Freedom explores new ways of understanding the powerful impacts of the First World War, highlighting how fashion is interwoven into the social and political history of Britain, by showcasting new creative works that echo these histories a century later.”

The ambitious exhibition is open at Manchester Art Gallery until November 27, so take your best friend with you and go admire all these unique creations.

by Bianca Anda

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