British Fashion Designer, Christopher Raeburn Designs New V&A Staff Uniforms

Award-winning British fashion designer, Christopher Raeburn has been unveiled as the designer of the new V&A staff uniforms today.

Christopher Ræburn, who is known for his sustainable and intelligent fashion design, has pioneered the reworking of surplus fabrics and garments to create distinctive and functional pieces. Alongside this, a highly collaborative spirit informs luxurious, handcrafted and award-winning products with integrity and purpose, and it is exactly this that makes him a brilliant fit for the V&A.

This collection specifically designed for the V&A, consists of garments and bespoke accessories that can be mixed, matched and layered, and features a print inspired by the V&A’s collection. The new uniforms will be introduced at the V&A in South Kensington and Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green this week.

Christopher Raeburn’s fashion collection was featured in the V&A’s Fashion in Motion series in 2016 and has resulted in this collaboration to reimagine the staff uniform. Connecting directly to the V&A’s collection, the new print featured on many of the uniform pieces is formed from the silhouettes of 20 iconic objects. They include a 19th Japanese netsuke in the shape of a rabbit; a Spacehopper from 1970s Britain, Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s sculpture Neptune and Triton (1622-3), and a 1870s rocking horse from France currently displayed in the V&A Museum of Childhood. The uniforms consist of a layering system, from t-shirts to a tote bag and rainproof parka with flexibility for staff to combine with trousers or skirts of their own choosing.

Exploring the Victoria and Albert Museum was one of my earliest childhood memories, I went on to study Fashion Design a stones throw away at the Royal College of Art and would spend hours delving into the archive at the V&A so having this opportunity to develop responsibly designed uniforms for an institution so close to my heart has been an incredible honour, says Christopher Raeburn

In a range of blues and oranges, the palette of the new uniform takes inspiration from Raphael’s The Miraculous Draught of Fishes on display in the V&A, and blends with Christopher Raeburn’s signature colors. All aspects of the uniform feature classic Christopher Raeburn touches, including parachute details and a layering system. Raeburn’s ethos of responsible design has ensured a focus on certified recycled and organic materials throughout.

The new uniforms will be worn by staff across the V&A, including gallery assistants, retail staff, and volunteers. Christopher Raeburn has designed the uniforms responding to specific feedback from front-of-house staff, resulting in bespoke pieces that work across a range of temperatures and reflect the needs of different staff throughout the V&A. The carefully considered layering system of t-shirts, polos, crews, bomber jackets, packaway lightweight jackets and rainproof parkas provide an all-year-round unique uniform solution. Printed tote bags, lanyards, and ties add further detail, providing support, function and style across the V&A team.

The launch of the new uniforms (which are the first in over a decade), ends a successful year for the V&A, which has seen the opening of the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter as well as critically acclaimed exhibitions, such as Pink Floyd, all adding to the record visitor numbers.

It’s been a record breaking year at the V&A and our front of house staff are at the heart of our visitors’ experience day in day out. We are delighted to have worked with Christopher Raeburn on these brilliant, colourful, adaptable new uniforms. They are an exciting development for our team and a reflection of the V&A’s contemporary style, as we look forward to another ambitious year of activity in South Kensington and around the country, says Tristram Hunt, V&A Director.

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