Fashion and Freedom – Manchester Art Gallery

Georgia and I decided to go to Manchester Gallery and see the Fashion and Freedom exhibition, which features fashion items inspired from students and industry professionals on the theme of world war 1.

I wore a dress from Dr Martens, a cardigan from Numph, boots by Finery London and my precious new Milk bag! G is wearing special edition Puma trainers, a moschino backpack, a t-shirt dress from a Japanese brand that she bought at Hyper Japan and pompom hairclips from Topshop. It was really hot that day, but I had the cardigan draped over my shoulders because I am so fair skinned that I get burns/heat rash very easily.

The student works were really professional. I could see the influence of fighter pilots really clearly in this piece and it definitely felt like something that was inspired by the period without making a dull and obvious reference to military uniforms. I took photos of all of the exhibition information, but I’m an idiot and deleted them… So I can’t promise this will be an informative post.


A lot of the designers were very inspired by munitionettes and this yellow colour featured in a lot of the items. They worked in really dangerous toxic conditions which left them with yellow skin; I think this sacrifice really echoed with a lot of the designers. The yellow stained skin earned the munitionettes the affection nickname “canary girls.” The first world war was the main point in history where women began to work regularly, which was a huge shift. The second look I feel definitely seems like a work look and gives that nod to the munitionettes.



These looks were my favourites because they reminded me a lot of commes des garcons looks with their layers and textures and how beautifully they work together. These are almost like parachute pierrot clown outfits. They have that element of fashion and tragedy, I don’t know if that was intentional but I definitely picked up that vibe of really performative garments.

This look was very armour inspired and I remember the information from the exhibition stating that the designer wanted an angelic look for the garment. I think it definitely looks angelic in a very armoured harpy way. I can definitely picture this woman carrying a huge shield and spear.


These two were definitely some of the more abstract looks, I don’t think I would have picked up the world war one influence just from looking at them without any additional information. The poppy headpiece is very clever and the items are definitely very striking and interesting.




These last three looks to me represent the change from traditional femininity towards working women. The final piece especially with the shown floral knees seems to represent a moment of tenderness and vulnerability.

If you’re near Manchester definitely go to the gallery and check it out! It was really interesting to learn a new perspective on history from women’s points of view. I don’t remember learning too much about the details of women’s involvement in the first world war during school, but I learned a lot from looking at these pieces!

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