Working with the Malcolm Garrett Collection

Today’s post has been written by Rachel Wilding, who recently completed a placement with us as part of her studies on the MA Library and Information Management at Manchester Metropolitan University. Rachel shares some thoughts about her experience of working with the Malcolm Garrett Collection.


Over the course of my placement at the Special Collections Museum, I have been working with the Malcolm Garrett Collection (MGC) and helping to catalogue the books, magazines, and zines that have been collected over the years. The name Malcolm Garrett may seem familiar, as he is a renowned graphic designer from the UK and has been building this collection since he was a child. And there is no end in sight for this collection, which has been expanding whilst I have been working on it. Most of the items I have worked with have been part of three sub-categories in this collection, All Tomorrow’s Parties, New Future/No Future, and Clothes for Heroes. Personally, the Clothes for Heroes section has been the most interesting part of the collection. Garrett clearly shows the importance of fashion documentation through the magazines, zines, and fashion books in his collection, as well as the garments themselves.

The reason for the importance of these documents is simple, fashion has a major role to play in society and for every individual. As said by Professor Frances Corner, fashion is ‘a serious tool we can all use to make our lives better’, therefore, preserving these items is surely just as important. The books, magazines, and zines in the MGC show the story and impacts of these items through interviews and articles. There are a small number of inscriptions within certain items, completely and utterly unique just like everyone’s relationship with fashion itself. The collection also provides evidence for how fashion transcends language, much like other forms of art. Books from the Clothes for Heroes section that have been published in Germany, Italy, and Japan, show the impact of punk fashion like Vivienne Westwood across the globe. These important books show the different attitude across cultures and help to preserve different aspects of societies in relation to fashion. There is no doubt in my mind that the MGC helps to explore the story and the impact behind the over 100 garments in his collection.

Through my time working with the MGC, my appreciation for the impact of magazine culture has grown. Whilst in today’s society much of fashion and magazine culture is seen as having a negative impact due to the environment and the mental health of consumers, there is clearly a rich history and story behind this whole culture that comes from all aspects of society. The MGC has done an amazing job at preserving this history and gathering items from around the world and in varying conditions. Though I will not be working with the collection after my placement I am excited to see how it will expand and what other stories it will incorporate when I make a return trip to the Special Collections Museum in the future.


Find out more about the Malcolm Garrett Collection by visiting our website.

And the winner is…

"Love You More" record sleeve - back, designed by Malcolm Garret, 1978
“Love You More” record sleeve – back, designed by Malcolm Garret, 1978

Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote in our poll for A History of Lancashire in 70 Objects.

The votes have been counted and the winner is the Buzzcocks “Love you More” record sleeve  designed by Malcolm Garrett in 1978.

Now we wait to find out if we make it onto Lancashire Life magazine’s shortlist of objects selected from museums and heritage sites across Lancashire.
Fingers crossed!

Take part in ‘A History of Lancashire in 70 Objects’

Next year marks 70 years since the publication of the first Lancashire Life magazine. To celebrate this anniversary, museums, galleries and heritage venues across Lancashire have been invited to participate in a special project called A History of Lancashire in 70 Objects.  We want you to help us to select one object from our collections that tells something of Lancashire’s long and fascinating story. You can read more about our shortlisted objects below. From all the stories and objects submitted, the final list of 70 objects will be revealed in Lancashire Life next year.
Continue reading “Take part in ‘A History of Lancashire in 70 Objects’”