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portrait youth, manchester fashion institute, central library, manchester youth council

Mancunian youth identity captured through fashion

  • New exhibition at Manchester Central Library explores cultural identity through fashion  
  • Show looks at how how teenagers use clothes as a form of self-expression

Young people from across Manchester who took part in a fashion shoot with a difference are being featured in a major new exhibition.

The 13-16 year olds were told to style themselves using their own clothes and accessories that express their identity.

The Portrait Youth exhibition at Manchester Central Library is being staged with MMU’s Manchester Fashion Institute and Manchester Youth Council to explore how teenagers use clothing as a form of self-expression.

The project grew from Manchester Fashion Institute's fashion and business saturday club which invites teengaers to workshops at MMU to build on their creative skills and learn more about the fashion industry.

Fashion lecturer Jo Jenkinson said: “The team noticed the impact the club was having not just on the members’ creativity and fashion awareness, but also on their ability to articulate their personal identity and beliefs through creative interactions with fashion and dress. These initial observations sparked an idea.

"With Manchester approaching devolution and the increasing political awareness in the nation's young people, maybe the universal language of fashion and dress could be used to capture and articulate the hopes, concerns and vision of the region’s diverse youth networks?”

Fourteen members of the youth council were photographed for the exhibition. The portraits are also accompanied by visual narratives and a series of interviews that provide an insight into a young person’s sense of identity.

The exhibition is free to attend and runs until 4 November in The Reading Room, Manchester Central Library.

RSVP on Eventbite for the Portrait Youth reception that will take place on 23 October.

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