A Talk With Polly Leonard

Selvedge founder and editor Polly Leonard recently sat down with Ada from Classiq Journal. They discussed what keeps her going issue after issue, after a decade and a half in the magazine publishing business, about why clothes matter, about Frida Kahlo, and about why her first piece of advice for someone with their own dream is to fail fast…

If you could capture the essence of Selvedge in one sentence, how would you describe it?

The Fabric of your life.

How did you come up with the name?

The selvedge is the non-fraying edge of a piece of cloth. It holds the cloth together and stops the individual threads from fraying. It is also where a designer would traditionally put their name. It is also a bit obscure, not part of the contemporary lexicon and thus rather specialist, like the magazine.

How did the magazine come to be?

I trained as a textile designer and artist. I have wide ranging interests around material culture and the role of cloth in the evolution of humanity. When I had my son eighteen years ago, I stopped teaching for a while and began writing to fill my time. I was then invited to edit another magazine, which I did for a couple of years. This gave me the idea to put together something a little more sophisticated with a wider remit, but with textiles at its heart.

Have you always been passionate about textiles?

I have been passionate about textiles for as long as I can remember. I am of the generation who developed hand-skills during childhood. There is something special and important about hand-made objects, but it is the textile industry and its products that has shaped the contemporary world more than anything else. Ironically, it is the disposal of textile waste that is the biggest preoccupation we have at the moment…

You can read this interview in full here, with thanks to Ada from Classic Journal.

To order your copy of the brand new lace issue of Selvedge, click here.

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