Items: Is Fashion Modern?

Unknown designer. White T-shirt. Cotton. 29 x 35 1/2" (73.7 x 90.2 cm) (irreg). Gift of the manufacturer. Image courtesy Shutterstock/SFIO CRACHO 2017

Introduction: Items: Is Fashion Modern? 2017

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Unknown designer. White T-shirt. Cotton. 29 x 35 1/2" (73.7 x 90.2 cm) (irreg). Gift of the manufacturer. Image courtesy Shutterstock/SFIO CRACHO 2017

Paola Antonelli: Welcome to Items: Is Fashion Modern?, an exhibition of a hundred and eleven garments and accessories that had a strong influence in the past century. My name is Paola Antonelli, and I'm the leader of the curatorial team that put this exhibition together.

Clothes are a way to document history, a way to understand more society and technology, and a means of production and supply, but also a means of expressing ourselves.

Clothes have implications, and with this exhibition we would like to help you think about what you wear in a different way. Perhaps with more investment and with more personal engagement.

On this journey, you will hear from many different voices—experts and scholars that have been studying these garments, those who designed these garments and also from people who wore them.

We present the items in the form that made them really impactful in the 20th and 21st century. That's what we call the stereotype. But of course every single one of these stereotypes has archetypes that led to it throughout history. And for about a third of the items, we have commissioned new prototypes either because a new technology was available or because a brand new way to design that same item has presented itself.

We are sure that you will notice that some items are missing, and that you want us to know, so please do. Use the hashtag #ItemsMoMA. We’ll be listening.

Unknown designer. White T-shirt. Cotton. 29 x 35 1/2" (73.7 x 90.2 cm) (irreg). Gift of the manufacturer. Image courtesy Shutterstock/SFIO CRACHO 2017
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