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The White Shirts Project

13th April 2015

11 April – 11 July 2015

BA Fashion students from Northumbria University, Newcastle are behind a new exhibition that reimagines the white shirt.

The White Shirts Project opens at the Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead on Saturday (11 April). The exhibition is the result of Northumbria’s annual first year fashion project exploring the white shirt, a fashion classic which presents an enticing blank canvas for students’ creativity. 

It was only in 1871 that Brown, Davis and Co, Tailors and Gentleman’s Outfitters of Aldermanbury in London, registered the first patent for a shirt that buttoned all the way down the front. The Northumbria Fashion students have been taking geometric shapes as inspiration to create unique and intriguing re-imaginings of this wardrobe staple.

Gael Henry, exhibition curator and fashion lecturer at Northumbria University said:

“This shirt exhibition explores a new method of design, learning and teaching using geometric shapes as the inspiration. The only constraints on the creativity were that the shirt must contain the standard neckline with a two-piece collar, a straight shirt placket and a cuff with opening on the sleeve.

The fashion designers worked in 3D and 2D throughout the process of transforming and creating shirt shapes. These shirts tell a visual narrative that questions proportion, silhouette, volume and movement, and develops tactile knowledge.”

The Northumbria white shirts challenge the relationship between dress, pattern making and the body in a contemporary form of self-expression that is especially relevant to today’s fashion environment.

Northumbria University Fashion graduates work with major brands including Ralph Lauren, Chloe and Givenchy so this is great opportunity to see their early work.

The White Shirts Project is part of an ongoing collaboration between Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and Northumbria University.

The Shipley Art Gallery is open Tuesday to Friday 10am-4pm, Saturday 10am to 5pm, closed on Sundays & Mondays.  Admission is free. 

For more details visit or find the Shipley on Facebook , and Twitter, @theshipley.

To find out more about fashion at Northumbria, click here or sign up to one of the University’s open days by visiting

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