Beloved UK blog What We Wore is currently preparing an exhibition and book, to be published by Prestel in Autumn 2014.
We met with co-founder and editor Nina Manandhar to chat about her hunt for the most captivating images and memories about style, and the social and communitarian aspect of one’s personal aesthetic.
The What We Wore Live Archive is in residence at our Gallery bar until tomorrow evening, where everyone’s invited to share their own images and stories about the perception of fashion past.
How and why did you start the blog?
'What We Wore' began as format on ISYS, the arts and culture based project and website, which is an exploration of British youth culture. Looking at image sharing websites like flickr a few years back, I noticed that there was a wealth of images that were for the first time being digitized and shared, and there was so much subtlety and nuance in them and the stories attached. The idea is for the images to allow people to tell their stories, to build a community around the stories.
Has your perception of fashion and style evolved?
Although the book is about style and fashion, the project aims to take you on an insiders tour of British youth culture and explore the notion of identity. Style is a key part of the way people belong, form groups, band and disband in youth movements and moments.
Are you able to define the essence of British style by documenting its evolution between the 50s and today? If so, what is that essence?
The essence of youth style is the way people reach out to each other to form connections. Style is the answer to an enduring need to affirm oneself. It is not just a British thing — it is the same for youth the world over, because this period of your life is particularly about defining yourself through what you wear on your body.
Things are more hybrid and fluid now with style, but people have always flowed through scenes and movements. There is still reinvention, new identities emerging in youth culture, not everything is as off the peg as the cynics would suggest.