Clothes belonging to an Italian bride who moved to Brighton in the 1950s are going on display.
27 Feb 2014
Clothes belonging to an Italian bride who moved to Brighton in the 1950s are going on display in the city’s Churchill Square shopping centre.
Concetta Trotta, who died last year, donated garments and accessories she wore from 1964 to the early 1970s to the University of Brighton’s Dress and Textiles History Collection in 2010.
The exhibition, which opens on 5 Marsh, has been supported by Concetta’s son, Reginald Woodhouse, who provided historical background to his late mother’s life.
The exhibition ‘Concetta Trotta’s Everyday Clothing Collection 1964-1970’ has been researched and curated by University of Brighton History of Design and Material Culture MA student E-J Scott, who received a grant from the university’s Springboard Programme which helps students and staff fund unique activities.
Concetta married at the age of 17, at the end of World War Two, and moved to Brighton in 1954 when she and their son were abandoned by Concetta’s husband. Rather than return to Italy as a single mother, she decided to stay and, desperate to support herself and Reginald, aged five at the time, she took a job in the Russell & Bromley shoe shop in North Street, Brighton. She became one of the shop’s top employees and later remarried and became the co-owner of a launderette.
E-J said: “Concetta’s everyday clothes are conservative and are made mostly of Crimplene which made them easy to wash and dry, with no need of ironing. They were respectable and affordable and are symbolic of the life she made for herself and her son.
“More than simple modest pieces of fashion, to me they reflect a remarkable journey by a single mother determined to make a life for herself and her son in the face of adversity.
“I hope the exhibition provides Churchill Square’s fashion conscious shoppers with a visual dress history that entertains and informs them about Brighton and the Churchill Square shopping area.”