Westminster Menswear Archive launches an international research network to investigate the cultural and industrial connections between London, Liverpool, Manchester, and Milan, Italy, and how they have influenced the production, display and consumption of British menswear. 

Locating Menswear is led by Professor Andrew Groves, Director of the Westminster Menswear Archive at the University of Westminster, and Jo Jenkinson from Manchester Fashion Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University, in partnership with C.P. Company, SEVENSTORE, UKFT and the British Fashion Council. 

The international network is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and will host a series of workshops and events in the United Kingdom and Italy over the course of the next sixteen months. 

Existing knowledge of British fashion from 1945 onwards has historically focused on designer womenswear to understand the fashioned body, while menswear has remained relatively unexamined, with little research into how it differs in its design, production, or consumption processes. Menswear has been consistently under-researched and underrepresented in dress collections, resulting in a distorted understanding of the history of British fashion and its locations of creation, production, display, and consumption.” – Professor Groves

The network’s objective is to expand the field of fashion research by bringing together an interdisciplinary network of scholars, practitioners, and fashion intermediaries, in order to begin identifying and addressing critical gaps in knowledge surrounding menswear.” – Jo Jenkinson

Menswear has been a common language between British and Italian men for decades, as evidenced by C.P. Company’s history. We are thrilled to be a part of this network, which provides us with a fantastic opportunity to share our knowledge, passion, and values in order to create a meaningful cultural exchange.” – Lorenzo Osti, President of C.P. Company

Menswear is a core part of the landscape of the UK fashion industry and vital to the BFC’s strategy to spotlight excellence in creativity innovation and design globally. Over the past 10 years since the launch of London Collections Men that legacy of menswear from tailoring to sportswear has exploded with talent, which is supported by brilliant craftsman, retailers, media, innovators from across the UK. This will be showcased at London Fashion Week in June 2023.” – Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council

Understanding the physical and digital spaces where menswear is encountered by the public through display and consumption is critical to understanding its history and planning for the industry’s future. Liverpool has had an active and profound influence on the evolution of British menswear, and we are excited that this will be explored and celebrated as part of the network’s activities.” – Daniel Milne, Head of Creative at SEVENSTORE in Liverpool

The network builds on the research already undertaken by Professor Groves who established the Westminster Menswear Archive (WMA) in 2016 and co-curated the award-winning Invisible Men exhibition in 2019. The WMA holds over 2000 menswear garments from 1780 to the present day, including garments from A-COLD-WALL*, Ahluwalia, Aitor Throup, Alexander McQueen, Aquascutum, Barbour, Belstaff, Berghaus, BodyMap, Burberry, C.P. Company, Calvin Klein, Carol Christian Poell, Christian Dior, Comme Des Garcons, Craig Green, Helmut Lang, Jean Paul Gaultier, Joe Casely-Hayford, Kim Jones, Lewis Leathers, Liam Hodges, Martin Margiela, Massimo Osti, Meadham Kirchhoff, Nigel Cabourn, Palace, Paul Smith, Prada, Raf Simons, S.S.DALEY, Stone Island, Tommy Nutter, Umbro, Undercover, Vexed Generation and Vivienne Westwood. 

The network’s activities will be documented on Instagram at @locating_menswear, and in February 2024, an exhibition highlighting the network’s findings will be presented during London Fashion Week.