In the run up to Selvedge World Fair – 3 – 5 September 2020 – a celebration of cloth, culture and creativity, we are profiling some of the 100 artisans taking part. Today, Anda Ene, designer and founder of Romanian Blouse tells us about the inspiration behind her business. “Some years ago, I was looking for a gift for a friend in an artisanal shop and I found a vintage handmade Romanian blouse. Never was I so impressed with a garment! It was full of hand sewn patterns and ancient signs, in black and with some inserts of gold metallic thread. I left the shop with two blouses: a new one for my friend and one for me.”
Image: Anda Ene, The Romanian Blouse, wearing a vintage man's shirt, estimated to be 100 years old. Hand embroidered with silver metallic thread.
“Finding this vintage blouse opened a new avenue for me: I discovered the incredible textile heritage we have and that is still available to buy at affordable prices. From the exquisite handwoven textile and complicated weaving models, to the peculiar cuts and impressive sewing techniques, to the amazing and unexpected chromatic combinations, and the infinity of the embroidered patterns. In eight years of intensive searching and reconditioning of old pieces, I very rarely find two garments to be quite the same.”
“I started looking for blouses in the old markets, in the humble artisanal shops, everywhere I could find them. Having such a rich source of inspiration, I started to work with a few women artisans and try to recreate some of the old patterns. In 2015 a collection of ten handmade blouses was launched and since then we have managed to create more than 25 distinctive models of blouses with handmade embroidery or woven in the loom silk. Sometimes it takes three months to finish a product, while the average time to complete a blouse is not less than three weeks. We have left only a few women artisans able to do the handmade embroidery, to weave the silk blouses and dresses, so we don’t have volumes, sometimes we don’t have immediate availability, because everything we do is handmade.”
The Romanian Peasant Museum in Bucharest recently created a short film about its collection of Romanian blouses, to tell the history of the garment.
Anda Ene is participating in Selvedge World Fair, buy your ticket to have access to shopping, talks, exclusive articles and more.