For the past month we’ve been working with a great bunch of young women from Wythenshawe on the DRESS project.

In 1887, the Ancoats Art Museum put their Model Dress on display to the public. Made from silk and placed in a glass cabinet alongside example fabrics by William Morris, it was designed to inspire working women to wear more functional and beautiful clothing and to influence their behaviour and moral character. With this in mind, the museum even offered the dress pattern for sale for a tuppence.
Read more about its history

The DRESS project was a co-production between The Horsfall, MMU Fashion Institute, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group and Stitched Up, to share the history of the Model Dress and examine its relevance to women today.

In a series of workshops, we worked with a brilliant group of young women from Wythenshawe, to develop a creative response to the ‘Model Dress’.

Did they feel that in 2018, women are still told what to wear?

As a group, we discussed the pressures that young women felt to look and dress a certain way. We collated the words and phrases that emerged from our discussions, and selected the ones that resonated most in terms of their feelings about body image.

We added these words to reclaimed textiles, using a variety of embellishing techniques including hand and machine embroidery, printing, stencils and applique.

These word pieces were then incorporated into a stunning replica of the Model Dress, created by the MMU Fashion Institute.

The final piece was exhibited at The Horsfall just after International Women’s Day, along with some beautiful photographic portraits of the young women who took part.

We’d like to say a huge congratulations to everyone who made this project a success. And especially to the young women who took part, for their enthusiasm and creative energy. We had an absolute blast working with you all!

Stitched Up x