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PUNK: Rage & Revolution

Start Date 16 September 2023
End Date 03 March 2024
Venue Northampton Museum and Art Gallery
Location Northampton,UK
Curator Jill Birrell
Designer Vertigo Creative, Leicester
installation view of punk exhibition

Punk: Rage & Revolution was on display to the public between 16th September 2023 and 3rd March 2024 at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery (NMAG). Designed for people who think museums are ‘not for me’, it attracted thousands of visitors, many who had never been to the museum before. The exhibition showcased objects, images, and video footage borrowed from people’s attics and garages. It captured the attitude of punk and created a buzz around the town. One of the key themes of the exhibition was fashion which featured ten mannequins dressed in punk clothing loaned from Contemporary Wardrobe Collection, Leicestershire Museum Collections, and local punks. A selection of punk shoes were also featured from NMAG’s world renowned shoe collection. The exhibition has been shortlisted for Best Temporary Exhibition of the Year (under £80k budget) by the Museum and Heritage Awards and is NMAG’s most visited temporary exhibition to date.


1975 SEX – Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren

Early Punk, Petrol blue and red striped mohair sweater, Seditionaries, 1977

Khaki drill trousers, with green Cinemoid pockets, Sex Original, mid 1975

Brown plastic woven sandals, Plastishus, mid 1970s

These 1950s style plastic beach sandals were sourced by Roger Burton and Rick Carter from a warehouse in Bradford and sold in huge numbers to soul boys and punks, from the mid 1970s.

Loaned from Contemporary Wardrobe Collection

T-shirt, jacket and trousers

Cotton and cord


This t-shirt was produced under the Seditionaires label which Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren sold from 430 King’s Road. McLaren also sold the t-shirts through mail order in music magazine Melody Maker. The punk ethos was do-it-yourself, whether that be making music or making your own clothes. This bondage jacket was made by the donor. Bondage was a style often used in punk clothing. The bondage straps between the knees were an extension of the sado-masochistic look Westwood and McLaren promoted at the time for its shock value.

Loaned from Leicestershire Museum Collections




Vivienne Westwood created men’s mohair jumpers to be worn by women she said: ‘I loved the beatnik idea of wearing a man’s sweater with tights.’ The jumpers sold for £25 (the equivalent of £190 today).

Loaned from Leicestershire Museum Collections

T-shirt, jacket, bondage straps, boots

Cotton, leather


The t-shirt was purchased by the owner at an official merchandise stand at one of the gigs during The Clash’s Out of Control tour in 1984. The jacket belonged to the owner’s father who was a teddy boy and was made punk with the addition of patches bought at gigs.

Loaned from Lee Walters

Text and images © Northampton Museums & Art Gallery.