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Design Museum to celebrate Fred Perry with a free exhibition

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

30 May 2022

Culture

Image: Fred Perry

The Design Museum is to host a free exhibition in June celebrating 70 years of the Fred Perry polo shirt and the legacy of one of Britain’s most enduring sportswear brands.

‘Fred Perry: A British Icon’ is a collaboration between the brand and the museum and will invite visitors to explore the company’s beginnings in 1950s Britain and get to know its founder, three-times Wimbledon champion Fred Perry through rare archival material and early prototypes.

Running from June 10 to 19, the exhibition will share the intricacies of Perry’s identity and learn how his legacy continues to influence the brand’s character. As well as showcase how the company went from its tennis origins into contemporary designs and its importance to subcultures through a new installation of original objects, design process and specially commissioned films.

Fred Perry’s polo shirt and legacy to become focus in free exhibition at the Design Museum

There will a deep dive into Fred Perry’s quintessential garment: the polo shirt, sharing its cultural significance and how it has evolved - with mods and skinheads, as well as artists, musicians, filmmakers and sports stars, all adopting the Fred Perry polo shirt as their uniform. The exhibit will have early prototypes on display, alongside the evolution of the laurel wreath logo, typography and rare pieces from years of collaborations with designers and musicians.

Image: Fred Perry

It will also examine how those sporting and musical collaborations have helped shape the brand’s identity, highlighting work from Amy Winehouse, Charles Jeffrey, Gorillaz, Comme des Garçons, Nicholas Daley, Raf Simons and The Specials.

The exhibition will also share Fred Perry’s unique relationship with live music, inspired by the brand’s programming of global music events, which platforms artists at the cutting edge of underground music by allowing visitors to immerse themselves with the soundtrack of the brand’s 70-year history.

In addition, there will be a section exploring politics and community as realised through fashion, sharing insight into the brand’s international significance, and the values that have been embedded in the style over time.

‘Fred Perry: A British Icon’ will run from June 10-19 in the Design Museum’s Huth Gallery.

Image: Fred Perry