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Dancing Threads Unveiling the Vibrant Tapestry of British Folklore in LCF’s Latest Exhibition

The London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London (UAL), is set to captivate the imagination of fashion aficionados and cultural enthusiasts alike with its upcoming exhibition, “Making More Mischief: Folk Costume in Britain.” Scheduled to run from April 9th to June 22nd, 2024, at its new East Bank home in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, this exhibition promises an enchanting journey through the rich tapestry of Britain’s folk customs and the costumes that animate them.

Following the success of “Making Mischief: Folk Costume in Britain” at Compton Verney in 2023, “Making More Mischief” delves even deeper into the heart of Britain’s folk traditions. In partnership with the Museum of British Folklore and with the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the exhibition offers a London-centric lens to explore themes of class, sexuality, ethnicity, and identity within the realm of folklore.

The exhibition challenges the static perceptions of folk traditions, presenting them as living, breathing cultures that evolve over time. Visitors can expect to be dazzled by the flamboyant costumes of London’s carnivals, the ceremonial garb of the Doggett’s Coat and Badge Race, the regal attire of Swan Upping, and the vibrant Somali May Day celebrations. These displays not only celebrate the aesthetic beauty of folk dress but also its ability to convey values of identity, non-conformity, and subversion.

One of the highlights of “Making More Mischief” is the immersive PXSSY PALACE (PP) installation, which traces the evolution of folklore through the lens of a QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) club night. Founded by Nadine Noor, PXSSY PALACE is more than just a party; it’s a movement that redefines folklore for a new generation, creating a space where global-majority perspectives shine and inclusivity is the norm.

Dr. Leila Nassereldein, Cultural Producer at LCF, UAL, emphasizes the dynamic nature of folklore as a reflection of lived culture. The PXSSY PALACE installation, in particular, showcases how nightlife can be a powerful medium for storytelling, offering glimpses into moments of queer joy, love, liberation, and resistance that challenge and reshape cultural narratives.

Simon Costin of the Museum of British Folklore highlights the importance of recognizing and celebrating folk customs in all their diversity. From the millions who flock to the Notting Hill Carnival to the enduring charm of the Pearly Kings and Queens, these traditions are a testament to the ever-changing landscape of British folklore.

“Making More Mischief: Folk Costume in Britain” invites visitors to immerse themselves in the enchanting world of folk customs, where the past and present dance together in a kaleidoscope of color and creativity. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore the fascinating interplay between tradition and innovation at the London College of Fashion.

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