The Substance Toteby Selvedge Team
Image: Selvedge Issue 78 cover, Photographer Oleg Oprisco.
If you’re looking for a roomy shopping bag, consider one of the Selvedge totes, which come in 14 designs, each showing a classic cover. It’s 44cm squared, with an inside pocket and handle made from natural nivad tape. We worked with Re-wrap to develop the bag. Re-wrap produced bags are made in rural communities in India. Many of the women who sew the bags come from marginalised sections of society and the company trains them in traditional sewing skills to help them gain economic independence. Re-wrap have also built partnerships with farmers who grow Seed-to-Shop cotton from which the bags are made, investing in them along the way. The entire process is kind to the environment and kind to people.
This particular tote features the cover from 2017’s Issue 78: Substance. From the introduction to the issue: Francine Stock’s 2002 novel, Man-Made Fibre, captures the enthusiasm for modern materials that pervaded the post-war landscape. At the time polyester, nylon and crimplene were seen as saviours that would liberate us from the toil of laundry and the inflexibility of natural fibre. But over time we discovered that these new fabrics had their limitations too. Breathability and biodegradability became buzzwords and what was once seen as an asset has become a liability as the zeitgeist shifted. Today’s engineers are developing composites that marry the benefits of natural and man-made materials from both sides of this cultural shift. On a recent trip to Normandy I was impressed to see flax, a traditional product of the region, being used to make new, high-tech sports equipment. The lack of elasticity in flax fibres, once seen as a limitation, has proved beneficial as a shock absorber in these new composites.”
Image: Pennsylvania German quilt, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
“All of the designers in this issue work with old materials in new ways, new materials in old ways, and all sorts of combinations that lie in between these binary approaches. Now, natural and man-made materials are being turned on their heads as the hierarchy undergoes a seismic shift."