Exhibition REBEL: 30 Years of London Fashion

10 Unmissable Highlights from #RebelFashion

From Alexander McQueen to Simone Rocha explore the 10 unmissable highlights from our exhibition REBEL: 30 Years of London Fashion, an exhibition which offers an unprecedented look at the multitude of opportunities London’s fashion scene offers young creatives.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Ensemble with hand-embroidered sequins, Ashish Gupta / ASHISH

This look contains multiple continents and histories. Ashish grew up in New Delhi and came to London to study fashion. When he came across fabric like this in London’s fabric markets – known as Dutch wax print (from its origins in the Netherlands) or African wax print (when much of the industry relocated to Africa) – he was inspired to embellish it by sending it back to India to have sequins embroidered onto it.


Nokia 3210 with interchangeable cover, Copperwheat Blundell

This Nokia 3210 mobile phone was designed to be customisable, with a front and back casing that could be replaced. This version was designed by NEWGEN alumni Copperwheat Blundell to incorporate their logo and it’s extraordinary how familiar this object seems to us today.


Alexander McQueen with the ‘Taxi Driver’ collection, Mina Wakatski

This is one of a series of never-before-seen photographs of a young Alexander McQueen with his ‘Taxi Driver’ collection, discovered during the research for this installation. It was taken by Japanese fashion journalist Mina Wakatski, who visited the first NEWGEN presentation at the Ritz Hotel.


Ensemble from Graduate Collection, S.S Daley

Designer S.S.Daley was thinking about ‘queering the British public school system’ when he created this collection, adding floral prints and luxurious silk donated by McQueen and exaggerating forms to present traditional menswear items through a queer lens. The collection gained a second life and wide visibility when this pair of trousers was worn by singer Harry Styles for his video ‘Golden’.


Composite ensemble, Matty Bovan

The combination of materials, techniques, layers and colours means that it’s almost impossible not to smile when looking at this outfit. From Stephen Jones’ brilliant take on a traditional Busby hat to the layers of netting in the skirt, it’s clear how much pleasure Matty takes in the process of making and putting a look together.


Ensemble, Nicholas Daley

Nicholas Daley’s attention to detail extends from the layering of clothes and accessories – including a string vest made by the designer’s mother’s knitting circle – to the way that he presents his collections. For Spring/Summer 2020, Jazz saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings wore this ensemble, playing as he moved, and got the crowd moving too!


3D Printed Daisy Earrings, Yuhan Wang

These incredibly delicate earrings fuse the contemporary technology of 3D printing with an ornate sensibility that seems to look further into the past. Her attention to detail extends to the way in which items like this are packaged, and continues the references, patterns and textures that she includes in her clothing designs.


First shoe drawing, ‘Suddenly Last Summer’ Collection, Edward Meadham

This incredible drawing was produced by Edward Meadham as part of the head-to-toe designs of the ‘Suddenly Last Summer’ Collection. It is testament to his brilliant draftsmanship but also to the totality of his vision, transporting his audience into an alternate universe that surprised and delighted at the time, and which is no less beguiling today.


Moulded pleat bib, naked dress and shibari harness tights, Sinéad O'Dwyer

O’Dwyer’s designs range effortlessly from items that might be worn at work, at a club or in the bedroom. They are cut specifically to fit the bodies of her models, and offer O’Dwyer’s answer to the sizing problems created by mass-production and standardised measurements. They’re at once sharp and very sexy.


Virtual Studio film made with Luca Asta, Leo Carlton

This short film offers an insight into Leo Carlton’s process; designing in Virtual Reality for a world that is both ancient and contemporary, they 3D print accessories and appendages that extend and manipulate the silhouettes of their wearers. They incorporate materials into the 3D printer that can be ground down and reused, and which ultimately will biodegrade.


The exhibition

Book now: Opens 16 September 2023

REBEL: 30 Years of London Fashion

This landmark exhibition will be one of the most wide-ranging surveys of contemporary fashion culture ever staged in the UK.

Exhibition photography by Andy Stagg © the Design Museum