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Fashion and Freedom Exhibition

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
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New exhibition pays homage to post WWl women's fashion
Fashion and freedom will come together in style when a new nine-month exhibition opens in Staffordshire at the beginning of March. The First World War was the catalyst for radical social change in Britain, causing a revolution in women's lives and transforming the workforce. And this spirit of change has been captured by 'Fashion and Freedom', an exhibition to be staged at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, near Lichfield, from Friday 9th March right through to Friday 30th November.

Fashion and Freedom, National Memorial Arboretum
Fashion and Freedom exhibition runs at the National Memorial Arboretum from March 9

The exhibition has been co-commissioned by Manchester Art Gallery and 14-18 NOW, a major cultural programme taking place across the UK to mark the centenary of the First World War. It forms part of a programme of First World War centenary art commissions. A century after the First World War, this ambitious, multi-faceted exhibition examines the fashion legacy from the wartime era. During the First World War, more than a million women went to work for the first time and many took jobs in vocations traditionally reserved for men. Women contributed through working in munitions factories and on the buses, driving ambulances and even 'manning' the London Underground. 'Fashion and Freedom' explores how the changing role of women in the workplace impacted fashion, as their new responsibilities provided new freedoms.

Holly Fulton, Fashion and Freedom
The exhibition features the work of top designers including Holly Fulton. Credit Jez Tozer

Featuring designs from Vivienne Westwood, Holly Fulton, Roksanda, J JS Lee, Emilia Wickstead and Sadie Williams, visitors to 'Fashion and Freedom' can learn about how changing social circumstances influenced the development of a new look where tight corsets and heavy skirts were replaced by more natural and fluid silhouettes. Sarah Oakden, Head of Marketing at the National Memorial Arboretum, said: "Fashion and Freedom offers the opportunity for visitors to explore social history and discover the ongoing influence that the First World War has had on clothing design." Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW, said: "When we set out to create Fashion and Freedom we wanted to look at the often-neglected impact that the First World War had on the lives of British women the roles they took on, the freedom they gained, and the resulting shift in fashion. Our partners have made this an exciting and rewarding journey, and it is fantastic that visitors to the National Memorial Arboretum will have the opportunity to learn about this revolutionary period of social change."

Roksanda, Fashion and Freedom
A design by Roksanda will also be included. Credit Jez Tozer

Fashion and Freedom' will be exhibited at the National Memorial Arboretum from March 9 to 30 November 2018. Admission is included in the tickets for the Arboretum's permanent 'Landscapes of Life', exhibition which are priced at 7.50 for adults and 6 for children aged 6-16, concessions, and members of the Armed Forces. Children aged five and under are free. The National Memorial Arboretum, which is part of The Royal British Legion, is the UK's year-round Centre for Remembrance, honouring the fallen and recognising service and sacrifice. It has almost 30,000 maturing trees and more than 350 memorials. In October 2016, it opened a 15.7 million Remembrance Centre.
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Why? Top Fashion Designers Pay Tribute To Women Of First World War
When: 9 March to 30 November 2018
Phone: 01283 245100
Where: National Memorial Arboretum, Croxall Road, Alrewas, Burton-on-Trent DE13 7AR
Cost: Included in Landscapes of Life tickets priced 7.50 adults, 6 concessions & children 6-16
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