Worn and dishevelled clothes are often discarded rather than prized. Holey jeans, moth-eaten jumpers, decaying coats – all are frequently considered as beyond repair, an emblem of another time that is now rendered useless. But as sustainable fashion takes centre stage as something vital to consider rather than a throwaway side-policy for many major brands, our relationship with worn clothes is being reconsidered.
A new fashion exhibition in London will explore this relationship by reconfiguring notions of ‘disorderly apparel’. Using four clear frames of narrative – text, object, body and installation – the Fashion Space Gallery will ask viewers to establish new relationships with otherwise forgotten pieces of clothing.
Highlights include a pair of Victorian kid leather gloves from the 1830s that are burned, a cotton ballet singlet, borrowed from the Rambert Archive, the ripped linings of a contemporary Stone Island jacket and a century-old afternoon gown.
The four approaches combine to create a new nexus within which audiences can explore these clothes. Viewers are invited to engage with different narratives held both within the clothes and the space they are displayed in; one of the aims of the project is to test and explore the elements of exhibiting fashion within a gallery space. In an era when major labels such as Burberry and Louis Vuitton are also routinely blurring the boundaries between fashion and art, this exhibition also contributes to a wider conversation about where clothes belong in contemporary culture.
As fashion exhibitions in central London go, Present Imperfect: Disorderly Apparel Reconfigured promises to offer one of the more innovative and imaginative approaches to clothes.