Ever since I had clasped my eyes on the magical work of Marit Fujiwara back in July (a quick Google search tells me that Fujiwara’s work has run the full gauntlet through the blogosphere), several other textiles ‘artists’ have been making their way into my Picture folders.  I put ‘artists’ in inverted commas because I *think* these people might prefer the term ‘artisinal’, that what they do is a craft but of course more so than constructing fully functional garments that we wear, using embroidery and appliqu√© as their tools, they create swatches of work that in their own right could well be positioned in an ‘art’ context.

What I’m most interested in though is how these textile artists transfer their work into wearable formats and whilst all three have themselves taken varying levels of steps towards placing their work in more of a recognisable fashion context, I think it needs to be said that all three have also been employed by labels and other designers as collaborators, the usual route where textile artists’ names go largely uncredited.  Still, I think it’s great that more and more textile artists are becoming known for their work in their own name and since the hullaballoo over the likes of Marit Fujiwara, I’m sure people will be scoping out the textile arts grads quicker than ever…

First up, Anita Quansah, whose work some of you might have seen on Shrimpton Couture’s vintage site where the lovely Cherie is ever so quick off the mark to commission reworked pieces.  Quansah is London-based and is a Chelsea College of Design textile grad who has collaborated with the likes of Christian Lacroix (it’s evident why Lacroix employed her skills from her work!), DKNY and Diane Von Furstenberg.  She’s passionate about using reclaimed textiles to work them into her intricate embroidered pieces and seems to love building up a story with her fabrics that are loosely inspired by nature and garden elements.  What I love about Quansah is her appreciation of depth in her textiles and that there is this build-up of what seems like a million remnants, so that you can no longer pick out the original fabrics which I guess is her intent.  To be fair, Quansah has done a splendid job placing her textiles work onto lavish dresses and chiffon tops for Shrimpton Couture but I’d love to see her work rigorously placed in panels on tailored garments or perhaps worked into accessories and shoes.  I’m sure these are all in the pipeline though given Quansah’s impressive CV.

I think I escaped for a bit when I looked at Chromium Dumb Belle‘s website.  Johanne Burke, the artist (that’s from her own bio) behind Chromium Dumb Belle has been embroidering and appliqueing weird and twisted fairytales onto a variety of backgrounds for years.  Unsurprisingly, she contributed to Biba’s first debut collection after their reformation (wonder how she feels about its demise?) and has also written/illustrated the book ‘Biba Dolls’.  I quite like how she terms her work as ‘art-to-wear’ and this is where Burke definitely makes you fixate on the subject depicted on the garment rather than the garment itself.  She seems to have a penchant for magnificent magician’s capes that look really good for flinging around dramatically Merlin-style.  The subjects of her embroidered works stem from gaudy fantasy, theatre and warped history and they all seem to have this uneasy darkness underlying the bright colours, metallic threads and satin-y jolly fabrics.  I must demand whether Burke has started up an Etsy shop because I can well see the necklaces below being sold – belts, tops with extended collars and sleeves and of course, it goes without saying, the wonderful capes could make their way there too, all dusted with Chromium Dumb Belle magic.


I came across the work of Sina (correct me if I’m wrong if this isn’t the label’s name) through a copy of So-En magazine which I treated myself to from the Japan Centre (I easily drop ¬£50 when I’m in there…EVERYTIME) and whilst I have scant information to offerup due to my inability to read Japanese, I can say that this Japanese embroidery textile artist has already made sure her work is available in various forms… bags, simple tops, muslin floaty things, hanker chiefs… as well as offering up her services to the likes of Japanese label writtenafterwards for collaboration.  The fine paint-stroke type embroidery reminds me a little of the work of Jiwon Jahng except with a greater penchant for animal motifs and a delicate pastel palette.  I love the pieces where Sina’s embroidery graces very simple muslin jackets, shirts and breton stripy tops because they look so unexpected yet fitting at the same time.  The looser and sheerer the garment, the better it seems, as the embroidery really comes to life.

Sina copy

Comments (32)

  1. Julie H. says:

    I love stuff like this! First just seeing the amazing work that different people create and secondly from a DIY perspective. What a wonderful way to make something old new again!

  2. I am left breathless. Everything is beautiful, true art incorperated with fashion! :)please check out myu blog:

  3. proletkult says:

    wow, every single piece looks like an old painting! so magic!
    and the golden appliques remember me on the work of gustav klimt.

  4. hollie says:

    i love it! especialy the little embroided bear. a splash of colour brings a smile 😀
    please follow my blog holliegirl.blogspot.com
    much love hollie x

  5. Yokoo says:

    This whole post is more then my mind can handle, all of these pastels and fabrics are so sweet!

  6. no tv says:

    So beautiful – every piece looks like an heirloom!

  7. Katherine says:

    I love that coloring of the polarbar!!

  8. kelleyd says:

    Thanks for posting about these! I have been absolutely OBSESSED with Marit since you posted those pictures of her work some months ago…it’s nice to see more people exploring this side of things. People always say nothing’s new in fashion anymore, that it’s all pretty regurgitation, but between this and Louise Goldin’s knit wear and all the science-y textiles we keep on hearing about, I’m beginning to disagree.

  9. janet says:

    wow all cool things!!!

  10. caroline says:

    hm.. those are very interesting textures/techniques..it’s amazing how many refurbished ways we can recreate fabric.. lots to think about..

  11. The first one reminds me of Klimt. I love the last one, dreamy watercolors…

  12. Kazuko says:

    Sooooo Japanese! Love it.

  13. nikkieve says:

    so gorgeous!
    its like wearable art, so beautiful!

  14. Clairey says:

    Wow! I’m a total texture slave, this is fab! Love. Love. Love.

  15. Alexander says:

    beautiful clothing. wearable art at its best.
    perfect post. love your work

  16. LarsS says:

    I like the colours!
    Have a great day
    The Best Of Sweden

  17. Anita’s textures are exquisite.
    I did an interview with her a while back if you’re interested:

  18. Sarah Bee says:

    I’m obsessed with Anita Quansah!!! Always amazing.

  19. Joy D. says:

    I have always been into applique and embroidered patches. They are so delicate! I will be searching around these sites. Thans for introducing!

  20. Augustine says:

    Anita Quansah’s work is something like the paper mache but on the cloth. It is just amazing how she apply all those color and material compact to become a pattern and the texture is so rich and the color palette is just perfect… I love the textile so much…

  21. I can’t get over how detailed and intricate these pieces are. I’m very impressed and I’ve never seen anything like it. Great share.

  22. T. says:

    These pieces are amazing, especially the first artist! Her stuff reminds me of impressionist paintings.

  23. Angelina says:

    Oh, Sina is dreamy insane. I love it!!

  24. This is amazingly different! I love it. full of creativity.

  25. Kiyo says:

    These are so creative and beautiful..the details are amazing! You always find the most amazing things to post.
    I love SO-EN too, it’s my favorite magazine. The artists and designers they feature are unique and extremely talented 🙂

  26. Ayisse says:

    I love this post! The amount of creativity and artistry just amazes me (and then I feel bad at how I have close to zero lol). My favorite is Sina (yep that’s the label name). I think her works has a subtle tone to it and I love that. 🙂

  27. xing says:

    crazy colors!

  28. nike air max says:

    The artists and designers they feature are unique and extremely talented

  29. steph says:

    I love these pieces so much, so unique and elegant.

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