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New research project ‘Locating Menswear’ launches

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: Westminster Menswear Archive

A new international menswear research project ‘Locating Menswear’ is launching to investigate the connections between British and Italian Menswear.

The international research network will investigate the cultural and industrial connections between London, Liverpool, Manchester, and Milan, Italy, and how they have influenced the production, display and consumption of British menswear.

'Locating Menswear' is being 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, in partnership with C.P. Company, Sevenstore, UKFT and the British Fashion Council.

The research is being funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and will host a series of workshops and events in the UK and Italy over the next 16 months.

Commenting on the launch, Professor Groves said in a statement: "Existing knowledge of British fashion from 1945 onwards has historically focused on designer womenswear to understand the fashioned body, 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."

‘Locating Menswear’ research has launched to investigate connections between British and Italian Menswear

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 award-winning Invisible Men exhibition in 2019. The WMA holds over 2000 menswear garments from 1780 to the present day, including garments from A-Cold-Wall*, Ahluwalia, Alexander McQueen, Barbour, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Christian Dior, Comme Des Garcons, Craig Green, Helmut Lang, Jean Paul Gaultier, Kim Jones, Liam Hodges, Paul Smith, Raf Simons, S.S.Daley, Stone Island, and Vivienne Westwood.

Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, said: "Menswear is a core part of the landscape of the UK fashion industry and vital to the BFC’s strategy to spotlight excellence in creativity innovation and design globally.

“Over the past 10 years since the launch of London Collections Men that legacy of menswear from tailoring to sportswear has exploded with talent, which is supported by brilliant craftsman, retailers, media, innovators from across the UK. This will be showcased at London Fashion Week in June 2023."

The network's activities will be documented on Instagram at @locating_menswear, and in February 2024, an exhibition highlighting the findings will be presented during London Fashion Week.

British Fashion Council
Locating Menswear
Westminster Menswear Archive