Exhibition review 2

Exhibition review – Fashion and Freedom

Fashion and Freedom is exhibition located in Manchester Art Gallery and is available from 13 May to 27 November. It is a part of 14-18 scheme, which holds exhibitions around the UK about the First World War in theatre, fashion, film etc.

Entrance to the exhibtion


The exhibition showcases First World War woman’s wardrobes and how they changed during the time. The designs include works from Vivienne Westwood, Emilia Wickstead, Holly Fulton, Jackie JS Lee and many more.

Five universities participated in creating a part of exhibition called Restriction/Release. Students designed the pieces either before the war (restriction) or after the war (release). The difference between designs showcased how much fashion was restricted, and how war affected the changes that we see today.


Restriction: heavy metal skirts representing housewife duties and restricting layers

Women after war: tweed trousers

Androgynous silhouette that women adapted during and after the war. Hemlines got shorter, and women weren’t required to wear corsets anymore, which allowed free movement. Silhouette was simple, straight and did not require extra fabric.


Hemlines after first world war

Women and work – after millions of men went to war, women’s role changed and they started working to support families, with that fashion got more freedom when ladies started wearing trousers and got a right to vote in 1918. New activities – new dress codes.

Structure play – tweeds, wools, shiny metallic, layering.




Another great thing about exhibition is that there was a small cinema room, where people could view films about pre-war and after – war fashion and gain an insight into 1920’s fashion and professions.



Would definitely recommend to visit this exhibition to understand where today’s fashion came from and how it evolved. It surely gives a valuable glimpse into the past.





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