Major exhibition at Bankfield Museum combines fashion and a sense of place
A cutting-edge exhibition showcasing the influence of the West Riding of Yorkshire on contemporary fashion is coming to Bankfield Museum in Halifax.
Belonging: Fashion & A Sense of Place opens on Saturday, September 18 during London Fashion Week, and runs until 5 March 2022, as part of an exciting collaboration between Calderdale Council and Leeds Arts University.
Nicola Knight, course leader of BA Fashion and Janie Tweddle, senior lecturer of BA Fashion at Leeds Arts University have co-curated the exhibition with Elinor Camille- Wood from Bankfield Museum as part of their research project.
A spectacular multimedia display covering the entire top-floor Fashion Gallery in Calderdale’s historic Bankfield Museum will bring together works from a range of fashion designers and creatives who have been inspired by the many things that make the West Riding of Yorkshire unique.
Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Red or Dead, Martin Parr and Edward Crutchley are just some of the major names associated with the fashion industry who have been inspired by the region and whose works will be on display.
Curatorial themes such as landscape, community spirit, wit and humour, and the enduring influence of the textile industry, will celebrate the region’s distinctive character and the talented people connected to it.
Historical pieces from Bankfield Museum’s extensive fashion collection will, for the first time, be positioned alongside modern garments and fashion media in a visually striking display. Embroidered menswear, a holographic vinyl-printed gown and crocheted structural dresses are some of the contemporary garments that will be on show, displayed next to historical pieces such as an 18th Century men’s court jacket.
All the featured designers and creatives have links to the West Riding of Yorkshire and have inspiring success stories. For example, Kate Brittain puts her success as a designer down to learning how to crochet whilst commuting to school every day in Halifax. She is now a freelance knitwear designer who has created pieces for designers such as Burberry and Rick Owens.
Nicholas Walsh from Alistair James (design duo Nicholas Alistair Walsh and David James Wise) grew up in Sowerby Bridge and met David whilst working for Alexander McQueen. Many pieces for their eponymous label have been inspired by the local area. The inspiration for one dress came from a Victorian wedding dress on display at Bankfield Museum, and a Swarovski-embellished top was inspired by the heather and brambles found on the rough terrain of Norland Moor, Sowerby Bridge.
Design duo Cunnington & Sanderson uses locally sourced heritage wools and textiles from mills based in Yorkshire, and said: “The raw beauty of the Yorkshire moors and surrounding landscape have always had a huge influence on us as creators and designers. We feel privileged to call this outstanding countryside our back garden.”
Coun Jenny Lynn, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, said: “It’s a privilege to bring this unique exhibition to Calderdale, in partnership with Leeds Arts University. Visitors will be blown away by the spectacular displays and the inspiring stories behind them. We’re extremely lucky to be featuring so much talent, including two Alexander McQueen dresses which, for the first time ever, have come back to the region that inspired them.
“This is yet another part of our distinctive cultural offer that we hope will put Calderdale on the map as we recover from the pandemic, and as we look ahead to the major cultural events programme during Calderdale’s Year of Culture in 2024.
“But this is not just an amazing fashion display – we also hope it sends out a strong, aspirational message that anyone can achieve their dreams if they believe and work hard.”
Professor Sam Broadhead, Head of Research at Leeds Arts University said: “Nicola and Janie at Leeds Arts University are proud to present this showcase at the highly regarded Bankfield Museum.
“They have curated this exhibition as part of a collaborative research project with Elinor Camille-Wood (Bankfield Museum) and have reached out to a range of designers, brands and creatives with strong links to the West Riding of Yorkshire area.
“They’ve selected stand-out pieces with compelling stories to tell, for a real-life celebration of designers and creatives in the area. You can expect inspiring displays from big industry names such as Burberry and Alexander McQueen, as well as shining a spotlight on our own University fashion alumni such as Rav Matharu and Mary Benson.”
Entry to Bankfield Museum and the Belonging: Fashion & A Sense of Place exhibition is free, every Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm.