exhibition archive

Burro: I Feel Alright

Curated by Donald Smith

22.01.08 - 01.03.08

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"The idea that anyone could try anything and that glamour has nothing to do with social status celebrity or money."

For the first exhibition of 2008 CHELSEA space is working with fashion designers Su and Olaf Parker, creators of the cult British label Burro.

Burro came to recognition with a series of iconic T-Shirts incorporating the motto No Alla Violenza intended for style conscious, non-aggressive, British fans heading for the Italia '90 football tournament. From their studio and retail base in Covent Garden Su and Olaf Parker's collections quickly established Burro as one of the UK's most successful and interesting menswear brands; the quality of their designs and materials and their understanding of textiles, their clever and sometimes quirky detailing and cultural references made them at once sophisticated and accessible.

The Burro store itself was an important part of the experience for both die-hard aficionados and first time visitors: the atmosphere was welcoming, the music was expertly chosen and the beguiling colours and textures of the garments were complemented by changing exhibitions of contemporary art and design, ranging from young painters, photographers and furniture makers through to established international artists such as Sir Terry Frost. The friendly yet knowing ambience made visitors feel relaxed and, at the same time, accepted members of a very exclusive scene.

In fashion exhibitions such as Fast Forward at the Kunstlerhaus in Vienna, Burro have deliberately avoided the conventional display of examples from their collections preferring instead to create installations incorporating sound, video, lighting, sculpture and painting. For the exhibition at CHELSEA space however Su and Olaf Parker have kindly allowed access to material from the Burro archive including ephemera, press material, footage from catwalk shows, and a series of garments. In a work made especially for CHELSEA space, the designers have collaborated with the photographer Ivan Jones to create a new series of photographs inspired by some of their original promo shots for Burro collections.

We grew up with punk which influenced the way we thought about things. We studied textiles at Camberwell where the emphasis was on observing, drawing and craft (even making your own tools sometimes) importance was placed on understanding art and design history, we were shown that ideas can come from anywhere ,it is something we have continually drawn on since. This approach applied to designing menswear and the label we created has resulted in a look that was groundbreaking in the Nineties and clearly influences UK menswear today. This exhibition reviews of some of our earlier ideas and looks forward to the relaunch of Burro with a new collection for AW08.

Su and Olaf Parker 2007.

Additional notes for editors:

Founded in 1990 and initially selling capsule collections through UK independents Joseph, Jones, Psyche, and Duffer of St George, in 1993 BURRO launched its first full forward collection at Sehm in Paris and opened the flagship store in Covent Garden, London. By 1995 BURRO had been voted Men's Fashion Retailer Of The Year by FHM and Menswear magazines supported by a huge international fanbase with press coverage from Paris to Tokyo.

After launching a BURRO shop in Tokyo in 2000 and Burro Woman in 2001, recognition of BURRO's innovative design has more recently led to co-branded ranges for Swear, Marks and Spencer Autograph, Urban Outfitters, and Sergio Tacchini as well as designing and producing a "Football Fashion" range for Charlton Athletic Football Club. Exhibitions have included Fast Forward at the Kunstlerhaus in Vienna alongside Viktor and Rolf, Yohji Yamamoto, and Issey Miyake. BURRO have featured in many publications including the British Council's exhibition and book 21st Century Dandy.

For further information and images please contact: studio@burro.co.uk


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Burro cover

Photo: Ivan Jones