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MA Fashion Curation vitrine displays

The vitrine outside the Cafeteria in John Prince’s Street site offers MA Fashion Curation and PhD curation students the opportunity to explore exhibition ideas in a physical space. It’s a testing ground, where curators put theory into practice and experiment with creative solutions. The vitrine is looked after by the Fashion Space Gallery in collaboration with the Centre for Fashion Curation.  Recent themes include: ‘Desire’ an installation that explores religious fetishism; Club Minijupe, an exhibit devoted to Françoise Hardy, one of the premiere Yé-yé singers; and an interactive display exploring the relationship between textiles and technology exhibited in collaboration with the Digital Anthropology Lab, pictured here.

The vitrine in John Prince’s Street

Marrying digital textile fabrication techniques and curatorial strategies, Techtile Jungle examines the difference between animation and automation. Made of silicone, lace, and nylon mesh and equipped with sensors, these objects are brought to life – sometimes unnoticed – when a passerby’s movement is detected.

Animate pincushion creatures by Digital Anthropology Lab, London College of Fashion.

The vitrine project was an extension of Alice Chen’s Collaborative Unit ‘Active Programmable Matter’. Joined by fellow MA Fashion Curation student Pearline Yeo, they began the project in March this year.  Maria Dada, Co-Coordinator of the LCF Digital Anthropology Lab, led the experimentation in creating the animated objects, with an intention of giving an innovative response to ‘active programming’.

Curated by Alice Chen and Pearline Yeo, MA Fashion Curation.

Special thanks to Maria Dada and Ragnar Hrafnkelsson from the Digital Anthropology Lab.

Read more about a selection of  vitrine projects here.

 

 

Requiem: Material/Memory

Torn. Moth-eaten. Tarnished. Degraded. Discarded. From the infinite potential of a pair of unworn shoes to a tweed jacket crumbling from years of use, our clothing resonates with memories of our lives. Displaying garments from The Contemporary Wardrobe Collection spanning the last two centuries, Requiem: Material/Memory explores the intimacies and contradictions of memory as embedded in fabric.

Close up of brown woollen clothing unravelling

Requiem: Material/Memory

Presented by curator and archivist, MA Fashion Curation alumni Cyana Madsen with support from The Horse Hospital, Requiem: Material/Memory features works by artist and material culture researcher Ellen Sampson and sound designer and composer Jonah Falco.

The exhibition is at Horse Hospital, Colonnade, Bloomsbury London, WC1N 1JD

Saturday 4 May – Saturday 25 May

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Curating Confetti – Jennifer Rice

The City Reliquary Museum is a non-profit community museum that tells the history of NYC and its inhabitants through their permanent collection of small objects and ephemera as well as a community collections cabinet in which selected individuals have the opportunity to curate a small exhibition on objects they collect. Past exhibits have varied from an assortment of rock collections, ceramic unicorns, and bones to representations of the Virgin Mary, Coca-Cola products, and vintage roller skates. As a volunteer, I had the chance to be a cabinet curator, choosing a  collection inspired by an article about the re-opening of NYC’s Rainbow Room in 2014.  During a renovation of the iconic rotating dance floor, confetti from the 1940s was reportedly found.  Since reading that article, my collection now includes turn of the century illustrations and postcards of confetti and vintage confetti & confetti branded items from the 1920s to the 1990s.

Shop Front of City Reliquary Museum

The City Reliquary Museum

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State of Fashion

Freelance fashion researcher Renee van der Hoek, MA Fashion Curation Alumni, talks about her experience working on the fashion exhibition the State of Fashion 2018.

This year marks my 5th year as a freelance fashion researcher and early career curator since graduating with distinction from MA Fashion Curation at London College of Fashion in 2013, a course that provided me with skills and laid the foundation for my current practice.

Dressed female mannequins on raised platform in an industrial space. State of Fashion 2018.

The New Imaginations theme showed work of game changers such as Iris van Herpen and VIN+OMI. Image: Eva Broekema

Since then I’ve had the opportunity to write for independent fashion magazines such as Press & Fold and Monument, whilst also working as fashion researcher on several  exhibitions here in the Netherlands. The last major exhibition I worked on and still continue to work for the platform itself is State of Fashion. This time last year I got the opportunity to work as the assistant curator at State of Fashion alongside curator José Teunissen (besides her work as an independent fashion curator she’s the Dean of the School of Design and Technology at London College of Fashion (UAL) and Professor of Fashion Theory).

Three dressed mannequin torsos on white plinths with large white cubes as background

The Interdisciplinary approaches theme showed new and innovative materials such as pineapple leather and AlgaeFabrics. Image: Eva Broekema

State of Fashion

To briefly introduce State of Fashion, it’s the successor of the critically acclaimed Arnhem Mode Biennale (2005-2013) and was created to perpetuate its international reputation. State of Fashion is a platform that literally investigates the ‘state of fashion’ and addresses current topics that must be on the agenda of designers and companies, as well as NGOs, researchers, educational institutions and governments.  State of Fashion serves as a ‘safe space for dangerous ideas’. We want to inspire, unleash discussions and provide a stage for the disrupters and changemakers within the industry and beyond. Together we focus on the power of collaboration to create a more resilient, sustainable and inclusive industry.

Large industrial space housing numerous dressed mannequins on plinths and white cubes. State of Fashion 2018.

Image: Eva Broekema

The first edition of State of Fashion, dubbed searching for the new luxury, took place from June 1st until July 22nd. For the exhibition narrative José Teunissen started a quest for a sustainable future for the fashion industry.  When I joined the team José had formed the framework of the exhibition, dividing it into 5 themes: New Imaginations, The Product and the Maker in the Spotlight, New business Models, Fashion Design for a Better World and Interdisciplinary Approaches. At that time the actual objects to illustrate the narrative had yet to be chosen. I had the opportunity to closely work together with José on the realisation of the exhibition. This process was a significant learning experience for me as I felt José and the team trusted me and gave me every opportunity to contribute and leave my mark. All the hard work resulted in an exhibition in which we displayed the work of around 50 designers, brands, projects, and initiatives. All focused on possible solutions to change the industry for the better, from innovative materials, transparent business models to designers shaking up the system. Working on this exhibition also changed my own patterns as a consumer as I can honestly say I’m brainwashed by all the facts I’ve learned when researching for and writing the exhibition texts and catalogue

Two women seated on stage talking to an audience. State of Fashion 2018.

Bethany Williams and me on stage during our 9th whataboutery, discussing the power of collaboration and social responsibility. Image: Getty Images

Whataboutery

Since the exhibition in Arnhem closed we have had the opportunity to go on ‘tour’ to continue the search for the new luxury by organising events and talks, our so-called ‘Whataboutery’.  This series of talks aims to open up the conversation on the challenges that are part of producing sustainable and honest fashion as every potential solution raises new questions: ‘but what about…?’.

So what’s next? At State of Fashion we continue to spread our message and including audiences by organising or participating in talks, events and other exciting opportunities. Please visit Stateoffashion.org to see what we’re doing next or read our digital catalogue of the exhibition in Arnhem here.

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Archiving the Feminist Experience – an exhibition by The Feminist Library

by Jessica Taylor

While working with the Feminist Library on their recent exhibition, Archiving the Feminist Experience, it was my role to curate 15 different artists’ responses to its archive that opened in 1975 during the height of feminism’s second-wave. I took inspiration from the Library’s classification system created by Wendy Davis (a volunteer Librarian) in 1978 as a unique way of categorising the work within the collection that still stands today. This system includes over 20 categories ranging from history, the arts and politics and truly represents the individual experiences of women.

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SpiceUp Review

As the field of fashion curation rapidly expands past the walls of the museum and gallery and into corporate headquarters and shopfronts, it has now conquered a new frontier; the Islington Business Design Centre in London. A space more commonly known for trade shows and recruitment events, for three steamy weeks this summer the location played host to the exhibition SpiceUp. Subtitled “An Exhibition About The Spice Girls” (lest there be any confusion about the subject of the show), this exhibit was an exercise in curatorial agony and visitor ecstasy.

The Spice Girls were a group of five British women, who auditioned to become a pop group in 1994, and ended up becoming a cultural zeitgeist. SpiceUp has been curated without any affiliation with the group or their management, and is a testament to their lasting legacy. Spread over two floors in a side wing of the former Royal Agricultural Hall, there is no context provided for the location, other than the assumption that there are surely few venues in London built to accommodate such a massive assemblage of clothing, ephemera and merchandise, that would also avail themselves for hire to a member of the public. And so SpiceUp curator Alan Smith-Allison is – albeit one who is responsible for collecting the bulk of the objects on display, and owner of the largest collection of Spice Girls memorabilia on earth. A former charity worker turned exhibition maker, Smith-Allison has collected anything and everything Spice Girls-related since 2007, and in curating and staging this exhibit himself, also brought in loaned objects from fellow fans.

The result is almost overwhelming. With over 7000 pieces of ephemera on display, the exhibition reveals how deeply the public travelled into the mercantile heart of darkness in the Spice era. For the purposes of this review, however, my focus is on the dress and its display

Spice Girls memorabilia on display at SpiceUp.  Photo Cyana Madsen 2018 web

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