Issue 57 Meteorological
Please note this issue is only available digitally
THE BRITISH PREOCCUPATION WITH WEATHER is our defining characteristic: but it’s much more than a conversational crutch. As the terrible flooding this year has shown us we are, quite often, at the mercy of the elements. But battling adverse conditions can bring out the best in us, on a human level and also in terms of innovation. In this issue we have in-depth articles that look at two fields where textiles have saved lives and helped mankind make the most of the world around us. In Climate Control, Marie O’Mahony examines how ‘agro textiles’ are increasing food production and assisting in the clean-up of environmental disasters.
While in Water off a Duck’s Back, Mary Rose and Mike Parsons reveal what they call “the long, slow revolution” that lies behind high-performance, outdoor textiles. Comfortable waterproof fabrics are something of a textile holy grail and the search is not yet over. I hope that in the near future a clever textile engineer will devise a better alternative to sandbags.
Within textiles it is the dyeing of fibre and cloth that we associate most closely with water. Many of you will be familiar with the magic that is the oxidisation process that occurs when cloth is dyed with indigo. Perhaps less well known but no less fascinating is saffron, Spun Gold. The violet crocus contains tiny orange ‘threads’ as precious as gold. The flowers are painstakingly harvested by hand and processed to produce this iconic shade of orange. Colour pervades this issue, and Ptolemy Mann meets three designers who respond to it in very different ways; see On the same Wavelength. In Nature Trail, Beth Smith admires the vivid botanical prints, and the business acumen, of Clarissa Hulse, a designer celebrating 20 years in the industry. Alison Taylor of Sula, Perfect Weekend, is another designer whose use of colour is intrinsic to her success. Her silk clothing is made and photographed in Vietnam, a beautiful country where ancient craft skills can still be seen. Iain Stewart’s words and Jamie Marshall’s photographs introduce us to its wonders in Ladies in Red. But you don’t need to travel to Vietnam to see the Sula collection; just visit the Selvedge Fashion Fair, a new event in the Selvedge calendar in association with Bath in Fashion.
Polly Leonard, Founder