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Ulster Museum

Fashion & Feminism

Feminism has never been so fashionable…or has it? From suffragettes dressed to protest, to feminist statement t-shirts, this exhibition will uncover the links between style and sisterhood.

Fri 22 Jun 2018 - Sun 02 Jun 2019

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From the runway to the Ulster Museum, this exhibition will explore the origins of the most talked about trend in fashion today: Feminism.

In 2017 Maria Grazia Chiuri, the first ever female designer for Dior, caused a stir when her debut collection featured a simple white t-shirt with the slogan “We Should All Be Feminists”.

Not long after, the Italian designer knitwear brand Missoni staged its own mini women’s march by sending dozens of models down the runway wearing the brand’s own version of pussyhats.

It seemed as though out of nowhere, feminism was suddenly fashionable.

Yet, the links between modern fashion and feminism go much further back than today’s trends, as this exhibition will show.

Some highlights include:

  • an elegant muslin gown from 1800 that would have been met with approval from early feminist campaigner Mary Wollstonecraft
  • incredible gowns made by some of the most powerful female designers of the Paris fashion world, including the Callot Sisters, Madeleine Vionnet, Jeanne Paquin and Madame Grès
  • an exploration of how the suffragettes used fashion to promote their cause
  • modern designer fashion that explores themes of social justice and gender by Dior, Sonia Rykiel and Miuccia Prada
‘We Should All Be Feminists’ tshirt by Dior, 2017 (BELUM.T2017.42). © National Museums NI Ulster Museum Collection
‘We Should All Be Feminists’ tshirt by Dior, 2017 (BELUM.T2017.42). © National Museums NI Ulster Museum Collection
White muslin trained dress, 1800 (BELUM.T3223).
 © National Museums NI Ulster Museum Collection
White muslin trained dress, 1800 (BELUM.T3223). © National Museums NI Ulster Museum Collection
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