Issue 04 Celebrate
Rites of passage
"A FRIEND OF MINE RECENTLY bought a book called What You Wear Can Change Your Life. She commented that it was rather sad that society places so much emphasis on appearance. As someone passionate about clothes, I had to disagree. Even if you are one of those people who think clothes can't change your life, you can probably remember what you were wearing when your life changed. Although fashion provides a record of society's changing concerns and preoccupations, clothes can also document enduring emotion. As Anne, Countess of Rosse wrote and pinned to her bottle-green wool crepe dress: “Had a wonderful time in this dress, am ashamed to say. 1941!”
I have enjoyed the charming reminiscences of our contributors and friends about their most memorable outfits and I would love to hear similar stories from you, perhaps with a photograph. In this issue you will discover the way textiles punctuate our lives and are used to celebrate rites of passage: from the poignant Misuko shrines in Japan, that commemorate the loss of unborn children to the joyous confections paraded in the high school proms from the 1950s. The cultural significance of cloth is explored in Brinda Gill's article on Indian weddings.
When looking for fabric to celebrate in we often turn our attention to silk. With its noble history and unique lustre it truly is the king of fabrics. Our Top ten Silks highlight some of the most beautiful furnishing fabrics around.
Finally, quilts, one of the greatest repositories of history. Quilting bees were the group therapy of the past and the objects themselves treasured for their social history. Shelly Zegart traces the history of quilt collecting in America.
In January and February, when the weather is cold, warmth and comfort can become the only criteria we use when dressing ourselves. I hope this issue will encourage you to pause and consider your clothes in a different way, as emotional reflections and markers of time and place."
Polly Leonard, Founder, Selvedge Magazine