Knitwear in the Westminster Menswear Archive: Building a Collection

Sprecher, D. 2018. Knitwear in the Westminster Menswear Archive: Building a Collection. In the Loop at 10. Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton 19 - 20 Jul 2018 University of Southampton.

TitleKnitwear in the Westminster Menswear Archive: Building a Collection
AuthorsSprecher, D.
TypeConference paper
Abstract

The Westminster Menswear Archive was established in 2016 as a teaching collection to encourage and develop the study of menswear design from a technical and functional point of view for the BA Fashion Design and MA Menswear students at the University of Westminster. The archive is also intended to advance the general knowledge of menswear as a design discipline and to be used as a resource tool to inform contemporary menswear design. Users include students, researchers, academics and members of the menswear design industry who consult the collection for research and design inspiration.

The collection is focussed on pieces from around 1900 to the present day and broadly covers three themes: designer, utilitarian and technical, and military. The collection is dominated by outerwear but we are actively acquiring knitted pieces by contemporary labels such as Peter Jensen, Comme des Garcon, Alexander McQueen, C.P. Company and Liam Hodges. Historic garments such as knitted military underwear to 1980s Pringle golf jumpers are also included in the collection.

The development of the collection is a testament to the recent upsurge of interest in men’s fashion and its history – this can be seen with the establishment of London Collections Men in 2012, the journal Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion first published in 2014, and major exhibitions such as Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear 1715-2015 at LACMA in Los Angeles. However menswear is still relatively neglected compared to women’s wear, for example none of Alexander McQueen’s designs for men were included in the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A. This paper will showcase pieces from the archive and discuss them within the context of the gendered nature of the survival and perceptions of men’s fashion and the challenges of building a collection of menswear from scratch.

Keywordsmenswear, knitwear, fashion, masculinity, teaching collections, men's fashion
Year2018
ConferenceIn the Loop at 10
PublisherUniversity of Southampton
Publication dates
Published19 Jul 2018
Web address (URL)https://www.southampton.ac.uk/intheloop/in-the-loop/2018-inc-section-header.page

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