Barber, Claire and Swindells, Steve (2012) Mining Couture: A Manifesto for Common Wear. Black Dog, London. ISBN 978 1 907317 92 7

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Mining Couture explores the relationship between coal mining history and fashion. The book delves into the notion of “common wear”, records diverse narratives of fashion and labour, and focuses on the social context where the seemingly unrelated realms of mining and fashion converge.
Mining Couture emerges from Barber Swindells' commission at the Leicester County Council Snibston Discovery Museum, UK, as part of the Transform regeneration programme. This volume is intended as an integral element of Barber Swindells’ exploration of the theme of “common wear”. It illustrates and extends the work developed through their commission rather than document it rigidly—its aim being to present an open-ended process. A visual dialogue is developed between mining and fashion environmentalism through the juxtaposition of evocative photography, inviting the reader to take an active part in making links and shifting boundaries between these two realms.
The book includes an interview with 1972 National Coal Queen Margaret Dominiak and contributions from textile artists and curators, exploring diverse themes: from the responsibility of making art in a social context, to the legacy of coal mining in contemporary fashion trends, through to crossovers between mining and fashion lexicons. Looking back at twentieth century Russian Constructivist and Italian Futurist anti-fashion designs, such as the TuTa, or “Universal Overall”, Barber Swindells develop their own work-wear and this book is a journal/sketchbook/manifesto of their ongoing process.

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