Inside the immersive exhibition ‘Rebel: 30 Years of London Fashion’

Co-created by the British Fashion Council, the exhibition celebrates 30 years of resistance and innovation.

Kensington’s Design Museum played hosts to the Rebel: 30 Years of London Fashion exhibition. The exhibition has been co-created by the British Fashion Council honouring its 30th year anniversary. It has aided in the discovery of many emerging designers over the years, including JW Anderson and Grace Wales Bonner, with the main purpose behind this must-see showcase being to acknowledge the work of numerous young and upcoming talents. 

An image of a dress on a pregnant mannequin shown at the exhibition.
Image courtesy of Felicity Mansell.

“I would say our main aim is to inspire. There are many pathways into fashion, although the principal role that we are focusing on is that of clothing designer.” says Rebecca Lewin, co-curator of the exhibition. “We have looked for ways to highlight other skills and necessary collaborations that are a key part of the industry and for moments where visitors can interact with the exhibition.”

An image of boots on display at the exhibition.
Image courtesy of Felicity Mansell.

“By giving viewers the opportunity not just to observe and read about the collections on display but also to be curious, to find out more, we hope that a future generation of designers will start thinking about how they might also want to become rebels within the fashion industry,” they continue.

“You can expect to see around 100 looks as well as accessories, drawings, prints, ephemera, sound and moving image that gives a sense of the wild individualism of fashion designers who have emerged in London in the last 30 years. Every designer has been selected from a list of over 300 who have been awarded the BFC’s NEWGEN support at that time,” the co-curator says. “There are also new commissions that bring the show to life, including an interview film directed by NEWGEN alum Priya Ahluwalia; a group of mannequins styled by NEWGEN alum Nasir Mazhar with artist James Davison; and a catwalk soundtrack from Mimi Xu & Awkward moments.”

They continue, “I started working on the exhibition exactly a year before we opened. But the museum was in conversation with the guest curator Sarah Mower and the BFC for many months before that.”

An image of a collage of catwalk looks of outfits shown at the exhibition.
Image courtesy of Felicity Mansell.

After working on the exhibition for a year, which piece stands out to Rebecca? She says, “I don’t think it possible to say that there’s one favourite piece, but I do think the last room called ‘Change Makers’ includes a brilliant variety of examples of designers who are creating new business models that embed regenerative and circular design principles within their brands, all without compromising the beauty and the individuality of their clothing. Phoebe English, Richard Malone, Faustine Steinmetz and Leo Carlton are just a few examples among many.” 

Book this mesmeric must-see fashion experience here before February 11 2024.

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