WITH one month to go until this year’s Freedom Festival, the conversation about freedom has begun with the opening of Fashion & Freedom, a fashion and film exhibition inspired by the women of the First World War.
Princes Quay Shopping Centre in Hull will play host to an exhibition exploring the intricate link between fashion and freedom. Leading names in British fashion, from Vivienne Westwood to rising stars like J JS Lee, have created contemporary pieces inspired by the profound changes in women’s dress.
The exhibition is part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, which brought Weeping Window, the awe-inspiring poppy cascade to Hull earlier this year.
First exhibited at Manchester Art Gallery in 2016, the inspiration for Fashion & Freedom comes from an epic time in world history. A series of specially commissioned original short films complement the garments.
With the onset of war in 1914, British society was changed forever as men left to fight and over a million women went to work for the first time. Becoming bus conductors, ambulance drivers, window cleaners and factory workers, these new roles demanded a change in how women dressed. As men returned from war, women faced a new struggle for freedom.
Mikey Martins, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Freedom Festival Arts Trust, said: “While fashion can often be dismissed as frivolous, it is interwoven into our social and political history. It is also one of the ways that most of us express our freedom, personality and voice.
“This year’s festival, our tenth year, sees an exciting shift as unexpected places, from shopping centres to gardens, play host to extraordinary artistic works. By bringing a gallery exhibition into a shopping centre, we hope to reach a new audience and encourage new conversations about freedom,” he said.
Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW, said: “This exhibition looks at the often-neglected impact that the First World War had on the lives of British women – the roles they took on, the freedom they gained, and the resulting shift in fashion. These brilliant fashion designers, filmmakers and students bring modern-day sensibility to a landmark moment in women’s history.”
Fashion & Freedom is a free exhibition and opens to the public on 2 August until 3 September, the last day of the Freedom Festival weekend. It is located on the first floor of Princes Quay Shopping Centre. Click here to find out more.