British brand Belstaff, founded in Stoke-on-Trent in 1924, is returning to its roots to take over the Gladstone Pottery Museum over the weekend of 25/26 May with a 100th anniversary archive exhibition.

The new “immersive brand experience” will explore the history of Belstaff from industrial innovators in the Midlands to becoming the leaders in motorcycle and outdoor, all-weather clothing.

Belstaff’s deep and unique connection to motorcycling will be highlighted with a space dedicated to its iconic ‘Trialmaster’ jacket, including a display of Hollywood legend and motorcycling enthusiast Steve McQueen’s original jacket.

The brand’s long history as purveyors of outdoor apparel will also be brought to life through displays of archive outerwear, including some of the original pieces designed for and worn by mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington – in collaboration with Belstaff – for his well documented climb of ‘The Ogre’ in 1977.

Last month, Belstaff launched a new coffee table book ‘Belstaff: Our First 100 Years’, exploring the brand’s history and extensive research archive. It worked closely with vintage collectors from around the world to source some of the earliest archive pieces for the book, some of which will be displayed for the first time at the exhibition.

A series of social activities will also take place over the weekend “to give back to the local community” where Belstaff originates.

Some of the people who worked for Belstaff, including pattern cutters, machinists and factory supervisors, were featured in the book through new photo essays and researched images. Belstaff will be holding a reunion for ex-factory workers at Gladstone Pottery on Saturday 25 May “as a way of celebrating the people who helped to build the business”, many of whom still live locally and remain an integral part of Belstaff’s history.

There will also be an Archive Yard Sale taking place on Sunday 26 May, bringing together some of the UK’s top vintage collectors for a special, one-off market.

All proceeds from ticket sales over the weekend will go to Friends of the Potteries Museum, a registered charity with a mission to promote, support and improve The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery and The Gladstone Pottery Museum.

The exhibition will also look at Belstaff’s future, and will play host to the final stage of its inaugural ‘Cloudmaster’ project – a talent incubator and prize fund for the next generation of design talent, in partnership with the Manchester Fashion Institute.

The finalists’ designs will be prototyped and displayed, with winner to be announced after a panel discussion with the project’s judging panel – hosted by author and menswear journalist, Charlie Porter.

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