‘The real skill will be in learning to look beneath the clichés and habits of imagination that lie at the heart of these myths,’ writes David Russell. Motivated by questioning existing depictions of the North of England in fashion imagery, SHOWstudio editor Lou Stoppard and Manchester-based academic and Preston is my Paris founder Adam Murray team up to unpick Northern identity, the effect of geographic space on creative output and the importance of place in general.
The online project encompasses interviews with key creative practitioners - including Simon Foxton, Claire Barrow and Gareth Pugh - who discuss the links between their creative practice and Northern upbringing, citing key spaces, locations, moments and figures. The interviews are displayed as videos created by Jon Emmony using Google Streetview as an immersive street-level documentation of contributors' origins.
Additionally, essays and writing offer further discussion about the effect of geographic space on everything from gender roles to creative output. To involve those based in the North, select figures from across fashion set briefs to students studying Fashion Communication at Liverpool John Moores University that demand that time be spent out and about engaging with the community and exploring areas of the North. Photographers Jamie Hawkesworth and Nina Manandhar encourage students to look closely at people, places and routines within the North, while curator Ben Whyman and Stoppard ask students to think about text, interiors and artistic outputs. The briefs were given to students in October 2015. They are included here alongside the resultant work.
Beyond this series, an exhibition curated by Murray and Stoppard, also exploring depictions of the North of England in visual culture and fashion, runs at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool from 5 January to 19 March 2017. Featured artists are Alasdair McLellan, Glen Luchford, Corinne Day, David Sims, Jamie Hawkesworth, Jason Evans, Alice Hawkins, Mark Leckey, Jeremy Deller, Raf Simons, Paul Smith, Virgil Abloh, New Power Studio, adidas, Elaine Constantine, Christopher Shannon, Maxwell Sterling, Simon Foxton, Ben Kelly, Stephen Jones, Gareth Pugh, Nick Knight, Peter Saville, John Bulmer, Peter Mitchell, Nik Hartley, Claire Barrow, Humphrey Spender, Thom Murphy, Ewen Spencer, Brett Dee, Humphrey Jennings, Dave Turner, Rob Williams, David Ellison, Scott King, Shirley Baker, Greg Leach, John Davies, John Stoddart, Martin Roberts, Michael Robinson, Michelle Sank, Paul O’Donnell, Stephen McCoy, Tom Wood and John Skelton.