Professor Andrew Groves, Professor of Fashion Design, was interviewed by BBC Radio Scotland about the Westminster Menswear Archive’s new exhibition ‘Undercover’.


In the interview, Professor Groves spoke about the variety of masks they had collected for the exhibition, and said: "It was quite interesting because we were collecting live which is very unusual for a museum to do, so we were just responding to the market. In May we found a mask that was from Savile Row…it was £30, and we thought should we really be spending £30 on a mask? But cut to November last year and Louis Vuitton were offering cotton face masks with a bag for £350, so I think it shows you quite quickly how the market has adapted and changed and delineated from you or I might be wearing, how much we might be spending, and how other people might be using it as a means of showing a difference in their status."

Talking about the connection between workwear and menswear in masks, he said: “We have noticed there is a similarity between some of the technical workwear masks that are aimed at people such as electricians that are needing special protection and ones you might be able to buy from menswear stores. They are riffing on that idea that this is quite a masculine object, because I think for men, that idea of risk and how do you mediate that and decide how do you visually show that, I think they want to wear something masculine.”

Discussing whether masks as a fashion accessory are here to stay, he added: “We have noticed in the last month they've gone seasonal, the last month they've diverged and become a hybrid mask-come-hat or a hybrid mask-come-headphones, so I think they are here to stay in one form or another.”

Listen to the full interview on BBC Sounds.

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