Prof Andrew Groves and Dr Danielle Sprecher will be speaking at the ICOM Clothing the Pandemic Conference on 1st December 2021. 

They will be talking about some of the challenges the Westminster Menswear Archive faced this year as they prepared for the exhibition Undercover: The evolution of face coverings during COVID-19. 

The exhibition, which drew exclusively from the Westminster Menswear Archive, featured 52 unique face covers arranged chronologically to demonstrate how these everyday objects evolved from a utilitarian PPE item in scarce supply, to an everyday item worn by millions, to finally become a highly desirable fashion accessory manufactured by companies ranging from Burberry, Balenciaga, and Louis Vuitton. 

They will be discussing some of the difficulties they encountered while conducting rapid-reaction collection in a commercial setting, and the challenge of presenting fashion items that were still available for purchase but displayed within a distinctly different contextual narrative. 

They will also consider how, over the course of the 12-month research period, facemasks transitioned from being a symbol of the fashion industry’s response to crisis to becoming a highly contested object that could result in ‘contamination’ of the environment in which luxury fashion operates. 

This event is free online but registration is required. Register here via Eventbrite.