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18 November 2019

Jacket Required Reviews… Invisible Men at Westminster University




Let’s face it; menswear hasn’t traditionally been the most visible sector in fashion. Often overshadowed by its womenswear counterparts, the men’s design contingent has flown way under the radar of the public eye.

That’s just one reason the title Invisible Men is so apt for this particular exhibition, celebrating the menswear design narrative.

Last Thursday, Jacket Required ventured a little further west than our normal Shoreditch haunt, to check out the Invisible Men exhibition. The exhibition, hosted in the Ambika P3 venue, displays over 180 garments, handpicked and drawn exclusively from the Westminster Menswear Archive.

Covering around 120 years of British men’s fashion, Invisible Men articulates a design narrative that has long gone unnoticed. It explores the relationships between traditional men’s workwear, high-end fashion pieces and the “types” of masculinity that clothing communicates.

Broken up into 12 themed sections, Invisible Men brings together a range of designs, from utilitarian to androgynous, high-tech to high-end and classic to camo.

Curated by Professor Andrew Groves and Dr Danielle Sprecher of the University of Westminster, Invisible Men tells the story of the working man, the history of menswear and the social and historical connotations that men’s design has created.

Challenging the long-held misconception that fashionable men fall into the “dandy” or “peacock” category, the exhibition celebrates the “invisible” men of society. Those men who wear a “uniform”, be that formal or otherwise, which helps them to avoid scrutiny and blend in, rather than stand out. It explores the ways in which designers have reinterpreted this utilitarianism into fashion pieces that combine the avant-garde with the minimalist and the functional with the fashionable.

Bringing together over 50 labels and designer names, across a broad spectrum of history the highlights are many. A dedicated section brings to life the menswear of Alexander McQueen, whilst another, aptly named “Urban Protection” showcases the modern-day combination of fashion, street style and technology.

Running until 24th November, this exhibition is definitely worth a visit, to whet your menswear appetite pre-Jacket Required which will take place this January.


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