Calderdale Museums has one of the best but little known textile collections in the country. There are 17,000 objects, collected from all over the world. The collection began when the museum first opened in 1887. It represents the influence of world textiles on local production as well as how local textiles have been exported around and influenced the world. The collection includes significant objects from Ancient Egypt, The Balkans, China, Japan and the Indian Subcontinent. A range of English embroidery, samplers, costume, court dress, military uniforms, pattern books from West Yorkshire manufacturers and the design archive of Crossley’s Carpets. It represents not just textiles but textile production from spindles to spinning wheels, cards, combs and looms. The new fashion gallery will tell both the story of the production and manufacture of textiles in the local area and how those textiles were then used.
The Fashion Gallery opened in May 2019 with an exhibition showcasing Calderdale Museums’ fashion and textile collections from ancient Egypt to modern day, curated by Elinor Camille-Wood
From September 2021 to March 2022 the gallery hosted the exhibition ‘BELONGING: Fashion & A Sense of Place’ curated by Janie Tweddle, Nicola Knight (Leeds Arts University) and Elinor Camille-Wood (Bankfield Museum).
Exploring the influence of the Yorkshire West Riding district on contemporary fashion, this exhibition brought together works from a range of fashion designers and creatives who have been inspired by the many elements that make the area unique. Drawing on themes such as landscape, community spirit, wit and humour and the enduring influence of the textile industry, this multi-disciplinary showcase celebrated the distinctive character of the place and the creative people connected to it. A curatorial collaboration between Leeds Arts University and Bankfield Museum enabled an exciting opportunity to utilise the extensive fashion archive at the museum, positioning historical items alongside modern garments and fashion media. The exhibition featured works by Burberry, Red or Dead, Edward Crutchley, Cunnington & Sanderson, John Bulmer, Martin Parr, Niall Cotrell, Kate Brittain, Neesha Tulsi Champaneria, Sadie Clayton, and many more...
During 2022, the Fashion in Anne Lister’s Time (1791-1840) exhibition in The Fashion Gallery featured a selection of fascinating 1830s dresses and accessories from the collection at Bankfield Museum, and many items loaned from museums across the country, curated by Elinor Camille-Wood.
Anne Lister had her own unique style that contrasted with what women were expected to wear. This exhibition explored the many different styles of fashion during her lifetime. See large sleeves, intricate patterns, flamboyant bonnets, wonderful waistcoats, and lots more!
The exhibition coincided with a display downstairs in the Museum of costumes from the television series Gentleman Jack about Anne Lister
For 2023 The Fashion Gallery is home to some of the vast collection of women’s clothing and accessories of costume historian Lucy Adlington. ‘Opening the Wardrobe’ celebrates women’s clothes and the stories they tell. Lucy runs the History Wardrobe series of costume-in-context presentations, combining history, fashion and tons of fun. The collection spans over 250 years of design, making, wearing and sharing. Whether 'glad rags' or just rags, this exhibition celebrates the way clothes hold powerful memories and link us across generations. The exhibition was curated by Lucy Adlington and Angela Clare (Bankfield Museum).
In 2024 The Fashion Gallery’s exhibition will be ‘Making Historical Fashion’ in collaboration with The London School of Fashion, curated by Elinor Camille-Wood.