Portrait Youth is a participatory research project, led by staff from the Manchester Fashion Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University. The project aims to document identities of youth through styling and dress, giving young people in the North West opportunity to explore how their choice of clothing reflects who they are, and impacts on their interaction with others. For the British Textiles Biennial 2021 Portrait Youth present a collaboration with the Italian sportswear brand C.P. Company and the Westminster Menswear Archive.
With support from local youth groups, the Blackburn Youth Zone, and Inspire Motivate Overcome (IMO), the Portrait Youth team worked with a group of young men from Blackburn and Darwen to explore their identity through styling and portrait photography. Participants were interviewed about their approaches to dressing, styling their own outfits for a professional photoshoot with the acclaimed photographer Neil Bedford.
The images you see here were on display in King William Street, Blackburn as part of a range of activities organised by the Westminster Menswear Archive, that ran alongside C.P. Company’s CINQUANTA archive exhibition in Darwen during the British Textile Biennial 2021.