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Black British Style at the Victora and Albert


 Black British Style exhibition has been running from 7th October and closes 16th January.  It is the first exhibition in the UK to explore the style and fashion of black people in Britian and their impact on British culture over the last 50 years.



(Black style book cover July 04.  Copyright: Hainsley Brown)


Black British Style focuses on dress, fashion and styling across all aspects of black British culture and life. It looks at black dress from the 1950s, everyday clothes, traditional clothing, Sunday dressing for church, contemporary street style and fashion associated withblack music and dance. A section looks at respect and the importance and meaning of black pride. The exhibition is designed by Adjaye Associates and will also feature photographs and film footage from all over the UK.



(Interior view of Black British Style Exhibition.  Peter Kelleher.  Copyright V&A Images)


Highlights of Black British Style include Mis-Teeq’s outfits from their ‘Scandalous’ single and a selection of trainers from Goldie’s private collection; an elegant arrival outfit worn by Dr Beryl Gilroy when she emigrated to Britain in 1952; a Free Angela Davis t-shirt; Jazzie outfit for the Back to Life video; traditional African garments; and clothes and accessories by influential fashion designers Walé Adeyemi and Joe Casely-Hayford.



(Woman in arrivals outfits arriving at Victoria Station, 1956 By Heywood McGee copyright. Hulton Getty.)

The exhibition is organised thematically. The main themes are: England, Is The Place For Me  which looks at the arrival of black people in the UK from the Caribbean and Africa, from 1950s to recent times; Respect Yourself  looks at the politics of black pride; Calling RastAfari, Hallelu-Jah looks at the Rastafarian religion and the important place it has in the development of black British style and identity; Win The Lost At Any Cost,  a section on religion focusing on the importance of dressing appropriately for church and mosque; Fix Up Look Sharp which explores music and club based styles including Hip Hop, Dance Hall, Lovers Rock; It’s Good To Have The Feeling You’re The Best is a section on dressing upfor special occasions such as weddings and music awards; New Order examines how individuals draw on varied cultural influences to create their own personal style.  

Other tour venues include Manchester Art Gallery 18 June – 11 September 2005, Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford September 2005 – January 2006, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery June – September 2006 and New Walk Gallery, Leicester September – December 2006.

For further information regarding the event please visit www.vam.ac.uk/vastatic/microsites/1341_black_british_style/activities_and_events.php

There’s only  a few days left to see this unique exhibition…..well worth a visit!

Jenny Holloway

Industry Advisor.

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