Wardrobe Disclosure

Members of the public were invited to confess their secrets about the clothes they are wearing at an event in the Parade Ground here at Chelsea last weekend.

TED members Kay Politowicz and Jen Ballie set up a 'market stall' called Forms of Ad(Dress), as part of an event organised by fine art research cluster Critical Practice, which was exploring public modes of assembly and forms of address.

Throughout the day, over forty participants were asked questions about a piece of clothing they were wearing - including where they got it from, what part it plays in their wardrobe and what they will do when they want to get rid of it.

We gathered some very personal and informative insights into the relationship that people have with their garments and we are hoping to continue recording these stories to build a digital archive of 'wardrobe disclosures' on our new website, coming soon. More images here.


Natural dyeing workshops

Sabiha, our visting textile designer from Pakistan has been busy preparing for her natural dye workshops here at Chelsea. Sabiha brought with her some natural dye stuffs including tumeric and pomegrante and she has been showing students how to dye yarn and fabric using this age-old technique.
The students were shown how to prepare the dye stuffs, using a mordent and how to dye the sample pieces with a consistent coverage.
Several of our MA textile students have been investigating natural dye techniques for the last 6 months and they attended this workshop to extend their knowledge. It will be interesting to see how they integrate this into their work which will be shown at their preview show this Thursday 27th May at Millbank, and continues Friday 10am - 8pm and Saturday 10am - 4pm.


Several TED members were at the Slow Textiles Conference at Stroud last weekend. Emma Neuberg, Clara Vuletich and Becky Earley all gave presentations on their interpretation of Slow Textiles.

Emma Neuberg's presentation was first and was titled 'Why Slow, Why Now?'. She talked of her personal motivations for setting up the Slow Textiles Group (STG) which included her frustration at trying to find teaching/research work in universities and colleges that are prepared to consider a broader notion of design that includes the psychological, cultural, and environmental aspects. She then went on to explain the cultural and material reasons for setting up the group including the fact that by 2015, new legislation has meant that no textiles will be allowed to go into landfill in the UK. By teaching what she calls 'Extended Life Textile Techniques', people will gain new skills to use in their everyday lives and possibly contribute to a reduction in landfill.

She also highlighted the fact that there is a large, growing demographic of people (mainly women) over 50 years of age, who already have traditional textile skills and who are keen to connect with others. Emma's suggestion was that groups like the STG could be spaces for people to connect and potentially contribute to the re-use/upcycling of all the wasted textiles being generated.

Clara Vuletich discussed her emerging design practice as a 'slow design practitioner' and how there are three elements to her practice - producing hand printed wallpapers/textiles, researching and writing about sustainable textile design and working collaboratively with textile collective bricolage. Crucial to all of this design activity is reflection, and Clara emphasised how important this is to any type of 'slow' design activity.

Becky Earley then presented her Top 100 project, a slow fashion project over 10 years. Although she has presented this project to many audiences before, this time it was intertwined with her own personal life journey and how events in her personal life have been reflected and integrated into her design practice.

This was a major theme of the day - for any designer wanting to integrate sustainability and 'slow' principles into their design practice, that old saying is true - 'the personal is political'. How you live your life both outside of work and within it, carries the same values and qualities of environmental respect, balance, responsibility, openness and reflection.

For more information on 'Slow Design,' see Slowlab, Alistair Fuad-Luke's website SlowDesign or Emma Neuberg's Slow textiles Group.


The New Silk Road Project that we have been involved in with the British Council is now in its second phase. Yemi Awosile, a Chelsea graduate is back from spending a month in Lahore, Pakistan working at the NCA textile college. We are now hosting Sabiha Rajar, who teaches textiles at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi.

Sabiha will be spending a month in the textiles department here, running workshops on natural dyeing and traditional Pakistani embroidery. She has brought in her suitcase dyestuffs including turmeric and pomegranate and we are looking forward to seeing what she produces. We will post some images of the workshops once they are underway.