By Hannah Ringkamp- BA Costume and Performance Design
I have always been interested in the genuine history of clothes, most books and collections will focus on couture and high fashion, but I wanted to study the fashion and the people that are not always in the spotlight of history. Their clothes were rather a product of comfort and practicality slightly inspired by high fashion. Through my research it was interesting to see how class and money changes the interest in fashion and how age and personality plays a big factor in the choice of dress. I started looking for photographs in archives and collections to get a real feel of the people that lived an ordinary life.
On my journey of discovering the history of everyday 20th century dress I came across my own family history through the family photographs my grandmother had kept. For almost each photograph she recalled stories about the people depicted. Through the stories of my grandmother I could imagine each life seen on the photographs of people I had never met and get an idea of their personality through their clothes.
This curiosity for genuine photographs had started the time I went to London in the new year. I had found photographs and postcards in a small shop near Camden, many of which were dated. For my studies, this was extremely important as I had genuine examples of everyday dress on my hands that I could connect back to my research. Combined with my findings of incredibly interesting photographs, I visited the V&A clothworkers collection, which is an archive of many historical textiles. Here I was able to study three beautiful 1920’s day dresses and enjoy a day out in London with two of my friends who are also incredibly interested in the history of dress.
I thoroughly enjoyed being able to combine my studies with travel and experience. I believe that art is very personal involving emotion, connection and exploration, all of which I experienced through my own family photographs and my experiences and findings in London.