Selvedge Issue 91 Luxe
|Publisher Names||by Selvedge|
"Made in China 2025 is a government initiative which aims to move China away from being the world's factory (producing cheap, low-quality goods due to lower labour costs) towards producing higher-value products and services. This vision for the future is, in fact, a return to the past, as silk, one of the worlds high-end fibres was discovered in China, the oldest examples date to around 3630 BC. Originally reserved for the elite, silk was used as currency as well as clothing, and the monopoly of sericulture production was a closely guarded secret for over a thousand years.
For as long as I can remember I have found fashion and textiles compelling. I have interned with every museum costume department that would have me, from the FIT in New York to the V&A. Before my PhD, I worked as an assistant curator at the Harris Museum, with their wonderful Horrockses Fashions collection. Now I combine being features editor at Selvedge with living all over the world (Bermuda, Ireland, India, Qatar, Jersey and Gibraltar...so far). Reading about cloth is my perfect job.
Slowly the secret leaked first to Thailand where we can now enjoy the beauty of Jim Thompson's home in Bangkok, the man credited with reviving the Thai silk industry in the 1950s. Silk also travelled to India, before spreading to the Byzantine empire, and eventually, silk weaving was established in Persia and Italy where it thrives today. The Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative trade in silk carried out along the length of these interconnecting routes.
In this issue, we trace silk from its Chinese origins and follow it along the Silk Road through Uzbekistan, and stopping off in Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand. We also visit India, where we discover eri silk, the contemporary silk prints of The Summer House, and the exquisite embroidery of Asif Shaikh. Then to Afghanistan, where the French photographer Matthieu Paley shares his precious intimate images of the Kyrgyz nomads. Finally, we come to Europe, where silk caused quite a stir in 16th century London, to contemporary fashion brand Carcel who work in the Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institution, Thailand, pioneering a new model for prison employment.
I hope you are able to join me at Mary Ward House for our annual winter fair where Anna-Louise Meynell will be showing beautiful eri silks and we can all enjoy a little luxury this holiday."
Polly Leonard, Founder
Selvedge is a magazine that acknowledges the significance of textiles as a part of everyone’s story. We are surrounded by cloth from the cradle to the grave and by exploring our universal emotional connection to fibre we share the stories and values that mean the most to us. From why we love the sound of a needle pulling thread through taut linen, to why we are fascinated by the clothes we wear and the fibres we unknowingly rely on. There are many sides to every story and Selvedge is dedicated to finding and nurturing textiles from every angle. We believe that textiles unite all humanity and in surveying the development of society it is clear that from a spider’s web to the world-wide web, textiles appear as the protagonist.
It is with this thought that we hope to widen our net as well as our own horizons with everything we do. Join us and make our stories part of your story.
At the heart of the Selvedge story is a cerebral and sensual addiction to cloth and with that an appreciation of the beautifully made and carefully considered. Having been drawn to textiles since childhood, Polly Leonard studied embroidery and weaving and taught textiles for ten years. Frustrated at the lack of infrastructure to support talented artisans and the wider community of enthusiasts, Polly took a leap of faith in April 2004 and created the magazine she wanted to read – Selvedge. Today Selvedge is still exploring and understanding the history, future, politics and aesthetics of textiles with its own distinct voice.
Since its launch Selvedge has become much more than a magazine. As well as a valuable source of inspiration for designers and devotees alike, the Selvedge brand has flourished not only into a spring board for makers and artisans but a strong community of textile lovers, with workshops and fairs.
As a publication we broaden our own horizons and fall more in love with textiles with every issue. Because we believe that the most interesting and evocative textile stories deserve to be shown in the best possible light, we work to ensure that every page is as carefully considered and beautiful as the textile stories within it.