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‘The Arrival of the Turkey from Goa,’ from The Jahangirnama, Ustad Mansur, ca. 1612. © Victoria & Albert Museum.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Factory!

With the last days of November approaching, many American minds are turning to their Thanksgiving celebrations. Since becoming an official federal holiday in 1863, the last Thursday of the month has been reserved for visiting family and friends, watching the (American) football game, and sharing an enormous turkey dinner. Having spent weeks eagerly reviewing my […]

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Shop front of Merchant & Mills store in Rye

Modern markets for traditional techniques

Indian textiles have long held great appeal to European consumers; so much so that in the 17th Century the Indian textile industry were seen as a direct threat to British textile manufacture.  This resulted in the ban of textile imports from India and in turn gave rise to a lively trade in smuggled chintz.  Since […]

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Auto-Rickshaw samples, 2012.© Aneeth Arora

The Difference is in the Detail

Aneeth Arora with her label Péro, has emerged as one of India’s most respected young fashion designers. Her debut collection was in 2009, and I first visited her Delhi based studio in December 2010 where I spent a lovely morning admiring the use of hand-woven fabrics and hand crafted details in her outfits. Alongside her […]

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bandhani 4916

The Reject Files

When the idea for an exhibition on Indian textiles was first given the go-ahead, I had some sleepless nights wondering how we could possibly fill even one of the V&A’s massive exhibition halls. I needn’t have worried. Now I have sleepless nights about how much we can reasonably  fit in… From an initial selection of nearly 300 objects, we have […]

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Sketch of Tipu’s tent by Designer, Gitta Gschwendtner

Size matters: Putting on an exhibition

Now we have an object list, the preparation of The Fabric of India exhibition can really get under way. One of the first things I need to organise is the assembly of key object information to be shared with the project team. The V&A project team is made of representatives from different departments across the […]

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2014-06-19 11.57.31

The Story So Far: A Huge Variety From Around The World

Hunting Through the Weird and Wonderful at the Economic Botany Collection, Kew Walking into the Economic Botany Collection stores at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the first thing you notice is how chilly it is. Curator Mark Nesbitt does warn visitors to dress up warm – should you ever get the chance to visit, do […]

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Choosing embroidered tops at the Clothworkers' Centre

The Story so Far: Only 200

The last few weeks mark a particularly exciting moment in the development of any exhibition: we have appointed an exhibition designer.  Gitta Geschwendtner and her team of 3d, 2d and lighting designers will be drawing together spaces, surfaces, light and graphics to support and reveal the stories hiding in the textiles. This is when things […]

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Inspired to Make

Design in the Details As Research Assistant for The Fabric of India, I spend a lot of time with my nose in books. But when I’m not in the library, there’s a good chance you’ll find me in the archives. Coming from a textile making background myself, one of the things I love most about […]

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'Ajrakh' Jacket designed by Rajesh Pratap Singh. Linen, 2010. Museum no. IS.27-2012. ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Fashionable Fabric

One of our aims in this exhibition is to reveal new aspects of Indian textiles and fashion. It may come as a surprise to many that India has a dynamic fashion industry which maintains a continuity to India’s textile traditions. An exciting feature of The Fabric of India will be a showcase of some of the most imaginative […]

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1.4.10. Benares Sari (IM 5-1943) detail

The Fabric of India

Welcome to our blog on the V&A’s forthcoming exhibition The Fabric of India. It’s now a year away, but preparations are well underway for what promises to be not only a beautiful and dramatic show but also a major landmark in the study and display of the subject. Focussing on hand-made textiles, the exhibition will […]

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