Issue 66 India
“I can’t believe you paid that much for a dress!” says my husband as he checks our bank statement. To be honest I’m slightly embarrassed myself. However I know it was right for me. It’s a great shape, good colour and divine texture. It is very me and works with things I already have – I love it. And that feeling, that emotional connection to cloth, has nothing and yet everything to do with money.
This special issue devoted to India has brought home the almost incomprehensible wealth and variety of textiles that are made or originate from the sub-continent. The emotional attachment I feel for cloth is shared by the people of India, from the wealthy who wear the designs of Sabyasachi Mukherjee to village women who work in the fields adorned in colourful saris. We could fill another three issues with the beautiful material we had to leave out. But above all it is the dizzying contrasts that stand out. We found fear and hope amongst those working in the hand loom sector of textile production – when we should have found immense pride. We were filled with wonder when we saw the exuberant, colour-filled streets of Rajasthan. We were shown the joy a Kanchipuram silk wedding sari represents and were made to face the horror of understanding, as Lucy Siegle urges us to, just where our high-street bargains come from. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, our adoration of fashion is so often a tainted love.
Once I read Lucy Siegle’s article my dress didn’t seem so expensive. I had supported my favourite store, they can tell me who made it and where. Deep down we all know someone has to pay the price for our clothes and furnishings – if it’s not us then who is it?
Polly Leonard, Founder