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Umbro 100: Sportswear x Fashion

Start Date 12 April 2024
End Date 28 April 2024
Venue University of Westminster
Location Marylebone,London
Curator Prof Andrew Groves and Dr Danielle Sprecher
Sports wear title with images of sporting tops and colours.
Menswear sports labels

The Westminster Menswear Archive has announced Umbro 100: Sportswear x Fashion, a major free exhibition in London exploring 100 years of British sportswear and its influence on fashion designers around the world, which will run between 12-28 April 2024.

Over the last century, sportswear has evolved from its functional, athletic and sporting roots to become the daily uniform for billions of people around the world. Founded in 1924, Umbro has been central to this revolution.

Today collaborations between sportswear companies and fashion brands are the norm, but Umbro’s collaboration with Paul Smith in 2002 marked the beginning of this trend. Since then, Umbro has collaborated with over 60 different designers and brands including Kim Jones, Paul Smith, Vigil Abloh, Peter Saville, Christopher Raeburn, Supreme, Nigel Cabourn, Aitor Throup, Palace and Vetements.

In celebration of Umbro’s centennial year, the exhibition uses over 120 examples drawn exclusively from the Westminster Menswear Archive to explore how the relationship between sportswear and fashion has evolved. The exhibition will run between 12-28 April at Ambika P3, a space for contemporary art and architecture, developed from the vast former concrete construction hall at the University of Westminster.

It is presented in five sections, Manchester, England, Tailored, Replica and Diamond, and will feature a variety of designers. These include Kim Jones, Supreme, OFF-WHITE, Aries, Vetements, Patta, Paul Smith, Bikkembergs, Philip Treacy, Aitor Throup, Peter Saville, Patta, House of Holland, Christopher Raeburn, Pretty Green, Peter de Potter, FORSOMEONE, Eliminator, Numerals, John Smedley, ALMOSTBLACK, Hanon, NOWHERE FC, New Order, R. Newbold, Factory Records, Nigel Cabourn, Gio Goi, SWEET SKTBS, Rowing Blazers, KANGHYUK, Palace, Slam Jam and N.HOOLYWOOD.

Highlights of the exhibition include collaborations with British and international designers, a section dedicated to Aitor Throup’s highly influential Archive Research Project from 2011, historical examples of Umbro’s sportswear from 1936 to the present day, and historical football shirts from Manchester City, Manchester United, AFC Ajax, Scotland and England.

Professor Andrew Groves, the Co-curator of Umbro 100, said: “Though collaborations between sportswear companies and fashion designers are now commonplace, Umbro was at the forefront of this, with their collaboration with Paul Smith in 2002. While other sportswear companies had previously produced footwear for designers, the Paul Smith collaboration was the first to result in a full collection between a designer and a sportswear company being produced. As such it is a landmark moment and led to later collaborations with some of the world’s most important fashion brands, including Off-White, Vetements, and Supreme.”

Dr Danielle Sprecher, the other Co-curator of Umbro 100, said: “We spent over five years sourcing these rare collaborations from all over the world, including Japan, Korea, the United States, Brazil, Ukraine, Italy, France and China, demonstrating Umbro’s global reach. The exhibition will be the first time they have been seen together, allowing visitors to see how such a diverse range of designers have reinterpreted British sportswear through Umbro.

12 April  – 28 April 2024
Ambika P3, University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS

Free admission. Open 11am-7pm every day

Images courtesy of the University of Westminster, London.