Fragment/a was the research project Simon Thorogood conducted as the inaugural London College of Fashion/Victoria and Albert Museum Designer in Residence from September 2002 to August 2004. The Fragment/a installation was sited in the V&A’s Contemporary Space throughout August 2004 while the full research process was disseminated on the V&A website.
The project aimed to establish new links between the two internationally recognised institutions and to emphasise the museum’s role in championing new design inspired by the remarkable exhibitions, displays and values it supported. Thorogood intended Fragment/a to contribute to a wider debate of innovative fashion design and presentation, as practiced by such designers as Comme des Garcons, Martin Margiela or Hussein Chalayan.
Thorogood based his investigations around a notion of ‘unfinishedness’ that he perceived throughout the museum. Many exhibits that once were complete or belonged to a larger collection or structure were exhibited only partially due, to damage, distribution of ownership or logistics of display. This research was chronicled through writing, drawing and photography and resulted in a series of purposefully ‘unfinished’ or abstracted films, artworks, garments and mannequins.
A clear educational message engaged a broad spectrum of students from the LCF and beyond, endorsed through a program of open workshops and seminars, held at both host institutions. Fragment/a would serve as a model for subsequent V&A/LCF designer in residence appointments. It is also part of a larger contextual picture in which museums have used residency programs to communicate their specific brand of culture in engaging, novel ways to new audiences.