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Global Wardrobe

Start Date 09 October 2021
End Date 16 January 2022
Venue Kunstmuseum Den Haag
Location The Hague, Netherlands
Curator Madelief Hohé

Kunstmuseum Den Haag’s fashion collection was developed with a West European focus. But delve into our repository and you will soon discover common threads with other cultures all over the world. Hand-painted cotton from India, soft Chinese silk, imaginative batik designs from Indonesia and colourful variations on the Japanese kimono: each of these garments represents the world, and tells a story of inspiration and connection. Lovely but also painful stories, for many of these textiles were made during the age of colonialism and unequal power relations. Our topical exhibition Global Wardrobe – The Worldwide Fashion Connection comes at a time when ideas about fashion as a global phenomenon and about cultural appropriation in the fashion world are in the spotlight. Kunstmuseum Den Haag will invite visitors to look beyond the splendour and see clothes as part of the world history they represent. Special attention will be focused on makers who design with an open view of the world, bringing their own cultural background to the fore.

Non-European influences on the museum’s West European fashion collection will be divided chronologically into three phases: the 18th and 19th centuries, the 20th century and the present day. They represent the phases of imitation, inspiration and innovation. We have deliberately chosen not to explore this subject by region, but by period, in order to show how the prevailing view of ‘the global fashion connection’ constantly changes, and can be seen in an historical context.