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Posts Tagged ‘fabrics and textiles’

The pandemic has hit hard in all areas of life, but particularly restaurants, shops, theaters, and museums.

One of my favorite visits when I’m in London is the Fashion and Textile Museum located south of the Thames River in Bermondsey. Founded by fashion designer Dame Zandra Rhodes in 2003, FTM is now run by Newham College and offers unique fashion and textile exhibits, as well as workshops and classes. (I was privileged to view 1920s Jazz Age and write about it for Vintage Life Magazine.)

They even offer Events on Demand – for a small fee (5 pounds or approximately $7) you can watch recorded interviews and tours of exhibits.

As the only museum in the UK dedicated to featuring contemporary textile and fashion design, FTM is a rare and necessary resource for education and inspiration.

Unfortunately since March of 2020, they have lost more than 80 percent of their income and the future of the museum is “uncertain.” Yikes! FTM needs our help and to that end they have set up a crowdfunding campaign. Please consider making a donation to FTM. Any donation will help. And then put this fabulous museum on your Must Visit List when next in London.

Not familiar with FTM? You’re in for a treat. Click here.

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We live surrounded by cloth. We are swaddled in it at birth and shrouds are drawn over our faces at death. And yet there persists a stubborn belief that clothing and cloth are frivolous subjects – unworthy of serious notice – despite their overwhelming importance to human evolution.

Kassia St. Clair, British journalist and author.

This is, in part, a quote by Ms. St. Clair from the inside jacket of her book The Golden Thread: How Fabric Change History (Liveright Publishing).

I’ve started off the new year with this book, dipping back into non-fiction after reading quite a lot of fiction in Pandemic 2020. Having taken a textiles class in 2017, some of the information in this book is a welcome refresher, but I’m learning new things too! Such as the Vikings used wool to fashion their ships’ sails. I’m looking forward to the chapter on lace and I’m very intrigued by “Rayon’s Dark Past.”

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It’s free, it’s easy, it’s very informative, it’s a tour of Britex Fabrics! I recently took this tour and it was even better than I expected.

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Lizzie works on first floor of Britex and is your go-to gal for all things fancy and bridal.

Britex employee Lizzie, donning one of her own creations and with infectious enthusiasm, guided us through all four floors of exquisite wools, silks, velvet … you name it. As she pulled out particularly beautiful and unique bolts of fabric from the French Lace collection (usually sectioned off by a red velvet rope), Lizzie shared with us the history of the store which opened in San Francisco in 1952. Martin and Lucy Spector owned a fabric store in NYC but while visiting here on vacation the couple fell in love with our city and relocated themselves and their shop. Since then, Britex has become a local treasure attracting brides, designers, society ladies, and lovers of textiles.

Today Britex is run by the Spectors’ daughter Sharman, who travels the world looking for the best quality in fabrics for her customers: wool from Italy, lace from France, linen from Japan. Among the curated selection are fabrics used by designers such as Chanel and Gucci, unused bolts that may be a season or two old but just as beautiful.

Did you know that:

  • Lace from France is made with ancient machines?
  • Velvet has to be stored hung on tiny pin-like hooks so as not to crease and flatten the nap?
  • Every bolt of fabric on the shelves of Britex has been tested for its content?

I learned all that and more.

Britex Fabrics store tour happens every other Saturday, 11am (Next one is June 25th.) One full hour, questions are encouraged as is feeling the fabric, which, I warn you, can be addictive.

Reservations are a must: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/four-floors-of-fabulous-a-britex-fabrics-tour-tickets-23841887728

Britex Fabrics, 146 Geary St. SF.

 

 

 

 

 

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