Unseen Fashion: Curation

This is the first post in a new monthly series: Unseen Fashion. The series is going to focus on the parts of fashion which often go unnoticed or are less well-known, such as illustration, tailoring, embroidery or curation.

At LCF we offer courses in all these disciplines and I hope that by featuring these topics, I can not only bring light to the great range of courses we offer, but also more importantly, why it’s worth perusing them.

Each feature will consist of two parts, the first will be a background to the subject and the courses we offer; the second will be an interview with a leading figure in that industry. I hope that by speaking to such figures I can inspire people to think more about these disciplines, as well as learn something new myself!

Each month will bring a different topic, but for now, September’s chosen subject is fashion curation.

Fashion exhibitions have become bigger than ever recently with blockbusters such as the ‘Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty’ exhibition which broke record visitor numbers at the V&A, not to mention the ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’ show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was the museums fifth most-visited exhibit ever.

Centre for Fashion Curation Francesca Tye

Retail shops are organising exhibitions or thought-provoking window displays and more designers are creating their own archives.

So, fashion curation is beginning to peer out from behind the curtain as a discipline with major potential, not just economically speaking but also educationally.

Curating clothes is a fascinating topic. Garments are especially distinctive as a media in museological and exhibition contexts. Seemingly dramatic, or even mundane, they can be complex to display and interpret (without the animate body) and deeply poignant as evidence of lives lived.

Centre for Fashion Curation Francesca Tye

At LCF we set up our Centre for Fashion Curation, directed by exhibition maker Professor Judith Clark and curator and dress historian Professor Amy de la Haye, in 2014

The Centre is made up of, not just our teaching staff, but also the Fashion Space Gallery – curated by Ligaya Salazar, the International Exhibitions Programme – curated by Alison Moloney, and the Archives – managed by Jane Holt, which are all central to its activities.

However the main focus of the centre is our course: MA Fashion Curation. Taught by Prof Judith Clark and Prof Amy de la Haye as well as Visiting lecturers, including V&A curator Susan North, and freelance curator Jeff Horsley, this MA is the only one in the world that focuses on a mixture of theory and practice-based approaches.

Centre for Fashion Curation Francesca Tye

In times gone by, those looking to go into curation may have been limited to jobs in either museums or teaching. However, now our graduates are able to find work in a range of different roles. At the time of writing we have former students working in the Somerset House archives, Simone Handbag Museum in Seoul as well as freelance archivists or curators, who have been involved in recent exhibitions such as ‘The Jam: about the young idea’ and ‘Women, Fashion, Power’.

With the possibilities for work expanding significantly over the past 10-20 years, curation is an increasingly exciting discipline to enter.

1914 Now Francesca Tye

For those wanting more, I am excited to announce that I have an interview with Amy de La Haye coming up tomorrow, where she speaks about her route into curation, how the discipline has developed, and why she chose to persue it, as the second part to this month’s Unseen Fashion feature.

In the meantime, read more about our MA Fashion Curation course here.

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