Textile Hive is a comprehensive resource of 40,000 sartorial patterns from over 50 countries created in the last 200 years, amassed by fashion designer and textile scholar Andrea Aranow and compiled by her son, Caleb Sayan (most of their collection resides in Portland, where they’re based). However, on February 9, the Illuscious fashion show sees the east coast debut of a collection of yukatas (casual summertime kimonos) crafted and designed by 13 emerging visual artists. To design their garment, each artist worked alongside Aranow to search the Textile Hive database to select one pattern out of the 40,000 to serve as inspiration. In choosing the yukata as canvas, Aranow plays with its function as a thin layer between body and external world, emphasizing the already wispy quality by crafting from Japanese washi paper, rather than cotton or the like. “It has a memory,” Aranow says of the mulberry-base paper typically employed in crafts like calligraphy. “If you crease it, if you wrinkle it, if you fold it—it remembers.”
For the remainder of February, visitors to the Illuscious exhibit at the Ace Hotel New York can get a taste of the Textile Hive experience. Showcases of physical swatches and screens of streaming photographs display Aranow’s vast collection, from Japanese shibori silk to 18th-century shawl borders from Kashmir. “[Textiles] are a basic common denominator,” Aranow says. “Anywhere in the world, people know what a textile is.” Fabric’s universality has inspired Aranow for 30 years as she’s travelled the world in pursuit of singular textiles, lending her expertise to design houses like Louis Vuitton, tailoring a snakeskin ensemble for Jimi Hendrix, and living in Peru’s hinterlands, metropolitan London, and the outskirts of China. If textiles are a global language, Textile Hive is the perfect conversation starter.
Photos by Jacob Lewis Ferguson.
The Illuscious runway show takes place February 9; the gallery exhibit runs until February 28 at Ace Hotel New York, 20W 29th Street, New York City, N.Y.
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