A new display of film and dress history research sponsored by the CDH is appearing in the window of an empty shop in Lewes. This display represents research by Brighton PhD student Nicola Miles and is entitled ‘Children’s Clothes, Clothkits and Creativity’. Nicola is showing a film about her research that was made on the Digital Storytelling course at the university. The film is part a tribute to the creativity of Janet Kennedy who sadly passed away earlier this year.

Lewes was the original home of the children’s kit-form clothes company Clothkits from the late-1960s to the late-1980s so this is truly a suitable venue. The display is within a Grade II listed fourteenth century building with a secret underground tunnel to Lewes Castle which was a haberdashery and ‘slop’ shop in the sixteenth century, and a tailor’s shop for almost one hundred years. There are plans to use the building in the future as a textile archive.

The window display will contain original Clothkits’ garments, some of which are on loan from the founder Anne Kennedy as well as Janet Kennedy’s family. The display has been created with the generous help of Sarah Smillie, a visual stylist who worked for John Lewis for over thirty years and during this time was responsible for the Christmas advent windows for their flagship store (@smillie_stylist_). The theme of creativity in the context of Clothkits, and the importance of clothing in childhood is reflected in the design of the window display that includes elements of childhood stories.

The window will be available to be viewed on 2nd December at 6pm to coincide with the popular Lewes Late Night Christmas Shopping event. The shop is on the high street opposite the castle in Lewes, and the street will be closed between 5pm – 9pm to allow for easy access for pedestrians as well as other events including live music and street entertainment. There will also be an Arts and Textiles pop-up shop selling some reproduction Clothkits’ doll kits as well as items by other artists.

For more information, please contact Nicola Miles n.miles2@uni.brighton.ac.uk