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bias & contributors

Mar ie Taille fer

4

SELVEDGE

At the recent Selvedge Wardrobe Revolution Weekend symposium, our conversation revolved around the concept of value. Scarcity and value were comfortable bedfellows in a pre-industrial society, but today, when we live in a world of abundance, to what and how we assign value is a more challenging question. This quandary accounts in part for the resurgence of craft in the 21st century, and also perhaps why we struggle with the idea of intangible cultural heritage in the UK, as outlined by David Carpenter in his article, “Culture Wars: Crafts’ Colonial Legacy.” Manual dexterity and craft skills are rare in contemporary society, and when the evidence of such skills are observed in an object, it gains kudos. It is a win-win if the products also solve issues of the day, such as the endemic problem of landfills. Benchmark examples include Ashita Singhal of Piawand, who upcycles waste into valuable new products, and Celia Pym, the mother of modern mending, who gives value to throw-away fossil-fibre-derived fast fashion with visible mending. In her article, “The Great Uncut,” Sarah E. Braddock Clarke highlights wasteful and wasteless pattern cutting and signposts non-Western clothing construction as a more conscious approach. Garments which maintain the integrity of the uncut cloth are inherently less wasteful and more flexible than conventional cut-and-sew construction, as we see in Rta Kapur Chishti’s article on the sari, beautifully illustrated by Paula Sanz Caballero. In this issue, we consider uncut cloth in its multiple forms, including the significance of the turban in Sikh culture and question its adoption as a fashion accessory. The hijab, a site of political protest in contemporary Iran, is scrutinised. As is the Kashmir shawl, an example of a global commodity linked to colonialism and consumerism. The colonial trade in cloth is beautifully chronicled in Frances Homsn Jus’s article and Susan Meller’s new book on shipper's tickets – a must read for anyone interested in graphic design and textile history. Taking an example, this January, from the blue-sky thinking seen in the ancient sari, the trade blankets worn by the Osage people of the Midwest, portrayed in Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, and Anuj Sharma of Button Masala, I urge you to resolve to consider alternatives to the ubiquitous cut-and-sew when making your clothing choices.

Polly Leonard, Founder

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