Centre for Fashion Curation (CfFC) is a world-leading centre in the field of fashion curation.
As a group of academics, practitioners and administrators, we respond to the increasing demand for research into, and exhibitions of, fashion. The Centre provides a unique catalyst and platform for research, exhibitions, symposiums, workshops and publications, and collections-based enquiries.
We actively forge close partnerships with global, national and regional museums, galleries, archives, private collections, conservators, creative and commercial industries and publishers to support the theory and practice of the discipline in its broadest sense.
Museums and collections
Our members have developed partnerships and worked with amongst others: the V&;A Museum, Brighton Museum, the Serpentine Galleries, Barbican Art Gallery, The National Trust, Winterpalais (Belvedere Museums, Vienna), Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum (Getaria), Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT, New York), The Michaelangelo Foundation (Geneva) and Mode Museum (MoMu, Antwerp).
Fashion houses and practitioners
We have worked with established fashion houses such as Chloé, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Shirin Guild, Stephen Jones, Lanvin, Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, Raf Simons, Louis Vuitton and Yohji Yamamoto; practitioners and makers like Judy Blame, Simon Costin, Alasdair McLellan, Jun Takahashi, Julie Verhoeven, Bart Hess, Dai Rees, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin; and designers including Martine Rose, Gosha Rubchinskiy, Christopher Shannon, Benjamin John Hall, Shaun Leane and Gareth Pugh.
We work with organisations like Frieze Art Fair, Architectural Association, Dress and Textiles Specialists (DATS), the Costume Society, the British Council, English Heritage, HM Prison Holloway (London), Yale University Press, SHOWstudio, Università IUAV di Venezia (Venice).
We consult and write for both the Fashion Theory and Studies in Costume and Performance journals.
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. It is this often ephemeral nature of fashion that our members aim to explore and present in research outcomes.
As a group of researchers we aim to challenge practices and develop curatorial theory by demonstrating and enabling rigorous, innovative and experimental work within the discipline.
To do this, CfFC supports fashion studies research and curation through internationally-recognised responses to concerns facing museums, curators and exhibition-makers, and collectors of dress.
Through rigorous research around fashion curation, exhibition-making and museology, we are posing ideas and solutions to displaying dress that are inclusive, sustainable and imaginative.
We approach objects from different perspectives. We question, and we offer solutions to the issues surrounding display. We animate what can appear inanimate or intangible. Through this research, we generate different interpretations of fashion and exhibiting. This multiplicity of approach facilitates inclusivity and diversity.
Rigorous interrogation is part of CfFC’s experimental approach to fashion curation. Our work supports the understanding of historical and contemporary fashion dynamics, and curatorial trajectories.
Supporting our students in their future career progression and practice, as questioning, experimental curators and exhibition-makers, is vital to the work we do.
Research, teaching and learning are embedded within the practices of the Centre. CfFC’s academics lead and teach on the MA Fashion Curation and most provide PhD supervision. Committed to supporting career progression, the Centre will facilitate post-doctoral positions and short-term opportunities for UAL staff undertaking projects related to fashion curation. CfFC hosts a number of post-graduate and research students exploring the practice and theory of fashion curation.
Ongoing and completed PhD research
Research undertaken by our students includes:
- Practice-led investigations into curating the intersection of period film costume and contemporary fashion.
- Immersive theatre techniques and costume practice interventions for display.
- Practice-based investigations into exhibition-making and contemporary gender-neutral fashion displays in museums and gallery spaces.
- European dress related superstitions: curating the personal, the private and the immaterial.
- Frida Kahlo: de-stigmatisation through dress.
- Liminal Affections: An exploration of the origins, constructions and shapes of free association and its potential to inform novel academic practice within the arts and humanities.
- Wearing the Wunderkammer: A critical practice-led analysis of cabinets of curiosity, articulating the quality of curiosity and applying it to a fashion exhibition.
- Embedding the personal: the construction of a fashion autobiography as museum exhibition.
- Everyday dress and multi-sensory experiences within contemporary dress in the UK.
- Relationships between fashion and art in New York and Paris.
- Historical and contemporary ancillary trades of the London elite fashion industry.
- Italian fashion collections – preservation, analysis and relationships between scholarship and production.
- Curating the fashion victim: establishing strategies for exhibition-making when presenting fashion and humour.
- How can a detailed material culture analysis of fashionable menswear wardrobes augment biographical and museological interpretations? A comparative analysis of three twentieth century menswear collections from the Victoria and Albert Museum.
- Sculpting Beauty: a Cultural Analysis of Mannequin Design and Fashionable Feminine Silhouettes.
MA Fashion Curation and Cultural Programming
The MA Fashion Curation and Cultural Programming challenges students to critically interrogate and respond to a burgeoning field of practice and research. It is a well-established, innovative course that has seen, since 2004, over 80 students engage with a wide range of subjects addressing contemporary curatorial concerns including:
- The wardrobe of Frida Kahlo
- Egyptomania and fashion
- The ‘Spectacle’ and fashion exhibitions
- The internet and online fashion collections
- Early modern female cross-dressing (1570s to 1625)
- Youth cultures and fashion
- Private and public fashion collections
- World dress
- Museological objectives and social inclusivity
- Fashion and neo-orientalism
- Performance, technology and new interventions in the display of fashion
- Display and fashion design houses, including Lachasse and Vionnet.
Our students have gone on to work and curate at institutions such as the V&A Museum, the Frida Kahlo Museum (Mexico City), National Museum of Scotland, Fashion and Textiles Museum (London), Somerset House (London), The Design Museum (London), The Simone Handbag Museum (Seoul), the Fan Museum (London) and the British Council. Many have chosen successful freelance careers in fashion curation, project management, archives and collections management and consultancy.
The Costume Society
CfFC is proud to support the UK Costume Society through administering 2 of their student awards – the Museum Placement Award and the Jerwood Award.