Formal Friday Exhibition

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Our latest exhibition is what I would like to call a rapid response show- one that was created on a very short timeline in response to what is happening in the world around us the moment.

Formal Friday became a whimsical trend in New Zealand during our response to Covid-19 global pandemic.
We’ve heard it all before; we went into lockdown for weeks on end, we were asked to work from home, we socially distanced, we shrunk our social bubbles and started living in our comfy gear. Whether this was all day in active wear, rotating the same pair of trackpants, or refusing to put on “real clothes.”
In effort to break up the monotony New Zealand moved from casual Fridays at the office, to Formal Fridays at home. All championed by our very own TV personality Hilary Barry!
Wearing Formal wear on Fridays uplifted our spirits, got us looking in our closets for our best glad rags and made Friday meetings on zoom something to look forward to.
The movement of #FormalFridays went viral with up to 40,000 tags alone on Instagram and many others taking part across other social media channels.
At Te Awamutu Museum we chose to harness this energy to ignite our own textile collection by creating a show that spans from the 1830s until today, and show what Formal Friday has meant to different people over time. Whether this is through the ceremonial outfits, what we once wore as daily attire, our uniforms or our best wears to church on a Sunday.
For our attempt at developing and creating a rapid response show and getting it all together in 6 weeks, we are pretty proud with how it all came together!
Here’s a video by our Megan Denz (Collections Manager) showing you some highlights from the exhibition.
Due to popular demand, we have extended this exhibition and will add new components to it. Watch this space!