“Most people think that menswear is boring,” says Professor Andrew Groves, ex-design assistant to Alexander McQueen and Fashion Director of the University of Westminster’s BA Fashion Design course. “But there’s a story that hasn’t been told.” For three years, he scoured eBay for Burberry and everything in between. Receiving up to 99 bidding alerts a day, Groves quickly grew a tiny backroom into an overflowing treasure-chest of menswear garments spanning 12 decades. It’s the only archive of its kind, featuring inflatable jackets, suede breeches and spliced tailoring; a testament to the diversity of menswear.
Opening today, ‘Invisible Men: An Anthology from the Westminster Archive’ exhibits over 170 pieces from the archive, including COMME des GARÇONS, A-Cold-Wall* and Craig Green. It shows what happens when the rules of tailoring and functionality are broken. Even when they’re followed or the subversion is subtle, menswear has hidden depths that the untrained eye might not appreciate. “It is all in the details,” Groves says, pulling back the lapel on a black two-piece suit to reveal a tin-foil silver lining. Here, Groves walks us through the exhibition, pointing out his favourite pieces and explaining why menswear is about to have its moment in the spotlight.