Throughout history, textiles and fashion have played many roles – messaging and propaganda (t-shirts), protection (silk map linings in aviator jackets during WWII), conversation prompters, and as therapy responses to illness and conflict. Quilts that tell stories have been used in health care settings with AIDS patients and during wars in southeast Asia; the embroiderer perhaps stitching the story of life, sadness of leaving one’s home, and hope through the beauty of the colors and stitches. Other textiles have symbolic motifs and patterns highlighting origin, protection, or simply for the aesthetics.
It is the emotive properties of artisan and handcrafted textiles that make them so powerful. Ellen London’s automne/hiver 2017 collection of wearable art deliberately combines textiles from different countries and cultures to celebrate the connections and diversity of people.