Fashion & Freedom

Manchester Art Gallery

Fashion &
Freedom

J JS Lee

Born in Seoul, Korea, Jackie Lee established her eponymous label J JS Lee after studying at Central Saint Martins. Her MA collection received international critical acclaim and was honoured with the Harrod’s Award in 2010. Her collections are built around her vision of the modern woman who dresses in sharp silhouettes, with androgynous tailoring but in a unique feminine way.

2016
Wool crepe, wool tweed
Shoes: Wool crepe and leather

“We owe a huge amount of respect to the women who fought for their rights during the First World War period. As women today we have them to thank for many of the opportunities we have. For me, this project was a very different way of working and approach to design. Usually I am inspired by my own personal experiences but here I had to try and understand the women of this time – it was a very emotional journey. I felt an enormous sense of responsibility to produce an ensemble that helps tell their story and celebrate these brave women who changed our futures.”

J JS Lee 2016. Photography: Jez Tozer

For Fashion & Freedom Lee was inspired by wartime aesthetics and practices – uniforms, recycling of textiles, restricted colour palettes and the transition towards women wearing trousers. She references the change in the silhouette from long skirts to trousers in her design which incorporates leg-warmers as an under layer to knee-length skirts.

Lee’s pieces for Fashion & Freedom were also inspired by the end of the wartime period. “I looked at Vogue covers from 1918 and noticed how they evoked the feeling of the time – a sense of freedom. The war had just finished and British and French flags were featured and celebrated. It was a time for women to celebrate and embrace their new found freedoms whilst fighting to retain this new independence and their place within society.”

Illustration courtesy the designer
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