War Boutique was created in 2003 by Kevin Leahy, as a reaction to the invasion of Iraq by US and UK armed forces. Leahy is a Scottish designer who has developed a satirical look at war during his study and his work as a designer for defensive equipment. 

 

Shortly obtaining a degree from The Scottish College of Textiles, the artist started working for a company making body armour for police forces and armies around the world. This is where his interest in the highly sophisticated materials used for resisting bullets, bombs and stabs started. During his employment, he visited many Top Secret Ministry Of Defense sites. He made armour for the British, Egyptian, Indian, Pakistani and Algerian armies.

Through the artistic theory, War Boutique aims to record the events that all too readily escape the advertising space, documenting them as pieces of social commentary, within an historical context. War Boutique was brought into the public eye back in 2009 when the artist's work featured in a BBC4 programme and it has developed further over the years, through a series of workshops, exhibitions and fashion shows, in conjunction with local and national organisations such as the ‘Peace Not War Cooperative’ and ‘Save The Children’.

War Boutique plays on parallels with the concept of the 'fashion house' to examine cultural trends, and to experiment with new ways of presenting, distributing and contextualising work. His moniker parodies the concept of the 'fashion house', producing collections inspired by classic imagery and historic conflicts and trends. As one commentator noted, War Boutique "symbolically transforms instruments of war and destruction into constructive items embodying creativity, peace and critical social commentary".

Coming this September 2017 will be M*A*S*H*E*D, a solo exhibition by War Boutique.

To register your interest in this exhibition sign up to our mailing list or email gallery@lawrencealkingallery.com.

Works