Fashion & Freedom

Manchester Art Gallery

The role of fashion

The role fashion has played in our social and political history is often forgotten, and the First World War is no exception. Women went to work in factories and took on many other roles previously regarded as  suitable only for men. Fashion also played a role in this story, which is why it is so exciting to see today’s leading female designers revisit this significant moment through their own contemporary lens.

It brings together our most influential female designers, inspired by an important moment in history”

Fashion & Freedom is an unprecedented project, bringing together for the very first time our most  influential female designers to create bespoke pieces inspired by an important moment in our history. I am delighted to see our leading designers Vivienne Westwood and Roksanda Ilincic, alongside newly  established talents Emilia Wickstead, Holly Fulton and Jackie JS Lee and future star Sadie Williams. Collectively, they have demonstrated unequivocally that fashion is not only a leading creative industry  but also a serious cultural force. Their creativity, skill and ingenuity is extraordinary.

Our job at the British Fashion Council is to support and promote the UK’s fashion talent on the world stage and to showcase that talent through London Fashion Week, London Collections Men and the  annual British Fashion Awards. Fashion is a significant contributor to our economy, generating £26 billion a year, but it also shapes our identity and contributes to our cultural life. So on behalf of the British Fashion Council I am delighted to support Fashion & Freedom both in my capacity as CEO and also on a more personal note, as a born and bred Mancunian!


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