Dress & Textiles: Find your perfect fit

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It is easy to find patterns in the work we do about Dress and Textiles in the College of Arts. Our research is innovative and exciting; it is colourful and richly textured both literally and metaphorically. We look through archives to uncover the history of dress design and textile manufacturing. We also do more technical studies on how historic dyes and threads were produced. We are involved with the restoration and conservation of different items from militia jackets to national flags. Finally, our ongoing project looks at knitting in Scotland from many angles, taking in communities from Shetland and Sanquhar.

From the Jo Mattli archives at the Fashion Museum, Bath.

From the forgotten London couture designer Jo Mattli to Scotland’s textile manufacturing history, we work with museums and archives to research the history of Dress & Textiles. PhD student … worked with the Fashion Museum, Bath to catalogue Jo Mattli’s surviving garments and create a database of related material. This has helped to restore his reputation and make his work available to researchers. With the National Museums Scotland, the ReINVENT project led by Anita Quye looks at the objects and contexts necessary for the historic Scottish textile industry and has contributed to their new display in the Scottish Science and Technology gallery.

Several of the projects in the College of Arts investigate historic dyes and threads with a view to finding out how textiles can best be preserved. The yellows and reds of the Chinese Qing & Ming dynasty textiles are one project, and the gold and silver wrapped threads of Famen Temple silk are another. In both cases, finding out how and why these textiles were made helps to produce a sustainable conservation plan.

Our experts with the Formosa ('Tiger') flag of the short-lived Taiwanese Republic.
Our experts with the Formosa (‘Tiger’) flag of the short-lived Taiwanese Republic.

We also work on the conservation itself. With the Dumfries Museum, an MPhil student restored the red militia jacket of Captain Laskey, an important figure in the University of Glasgow’s history. Another project helped to restore the famous Tiger Flag of the short-lived Formosa Republic in Taiwan. The flag is an important symbol of national identity and was put on display in the National Taiwan Museum.

Gloves knitted in the Sanquhar pattern.
Gloves knitted in the Sanquhar pattern.

An on-going series of projects studies knitting in Scotland from many different perspectives. With the … Make Works, we collected data about Sanquhar knitting patterns. A PhD student worked with Shetland Museum and Archive to gather local knowledge about hand-knitting. Other events and workshops discussed knitting practices in Scotland more generally, and the University of Glasgow has even had a Knitter in Residence.

If one of these projects sounds like a perfect fit for you, or you have an idea that could tie in with the expertise of the College of Arts, please get in touch with arts-ke@gla.ac.uk.



Words by PhD Intern, Jennifer Hilder.

Watch Jennifer’s video here, or on Youtube:

Learn more about Dress and Textiles or discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts with Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

Post Author: Nicole Cassie