Northern Soul

Northern Soul

Somerset House spotlights the fashion and photography talent from England's north

Last year, Virgil Abloh, the founder of cult athleisure brand Off-White, made headlines when he joined forces with architect Ben Kelly to stage a graphic tribute to Manchester’s Hacienda club. The iconic venue, which shuttered 20 years ago, is just one of many cultural hallmarks from the north of England that continues to influence and inspire creativity on a global scale.

Now, Abloh and Kelly’s DJ booth-style installation will form part of Somerset House’s upcoming autumn exhibition ‘North: Fashioning Identity’, which explores the representation of northern England and northerners in fashion, photography and art. The show decodes a panoply of northern-centric works by emerging and enduring talents and is curated by editor and writer Lou Stoppard and Adam Murray, senior lecturer at Manchester School of Art. Trippy depictions of The Stone Roses by Glen Luchford for cult magazine, The Face, feature alongside early photographs from Jamie Hawksworth’s candid Preston Bus Station series.

‘A British Summer in Blackpool’, featuring Kate Moss, by Corinne Day for Dutch magazine, 2001; ‘Untitled’, urban sportswear in Manchester by Jason Evans, 1997

Elsewhere, visitors can see looks from Paul Smith’s Japanese sub-line R.Newbold, which trades Manchester-inspired clothes in Asia, and the politically charged streetwear of Liverpudlian designer Christopher Shannon. Another highlight is a Raf Simons parka from his pioneering AW03 ‘Control’ collection. The piece features archive graphics by Manchester-born art director Peter Saville, famed for the album covers he designed for bands such as Joy Division, New Order and Pulp. Finally, be sure to catch ‘Infinity’, a specially commissioned short film in which Doncaster-born photographer Alasdair McLellan retraces his old stomping ground.

North: Fashioning Identity opens 8 November 2017 - 4 February 2018

  • Words: Natalie Rigg