Theme 2 – University of Copenhagen

Photo: Thelmadatter

Theme 2

Relationship of traditional textile craft to modern fashion studies


Today there is a consciousness of the importance not only of preserving craft objects but also of encouraging craftspeople to produce and to pass on their skill to others. This is a challenge. Thanks to the industrial revolution, textiles have never been as cheap or as easily mass produced, with the sad consequence that traditional textile craft skills and knowledge are not always valued.

The skills required for the complexity of textile craft are partly forgotten. It is, of course, very time consuming to produce a textile by hand, and such textiles have become expensive with few people being able to afford them. The market for them thus becomes ever more restricted with the result that it becomes less advantageous for craftspeople to maintain their skills. As old (traditional) designs go out of fashion and it can be difficult for the craftspeople to use traditional techniques to produce new designs.

There is a negative circle of cause and effect which result in the diminution of traditional textile craft and a loss of knowledge. This loss is often invisible. However, many designers are now exploiting the potential of traditional craft in their work and revitalizing practices often with very ‘non-traditional’ ends. This theme will examine the dynamic between ‘tradition’ and modern fashion.