Threads for Cockaigne woven fashion
collection by Martijn van Strien

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Here's another fashion collection by Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Martijn van Strien, which he designed for a fabled medieval land.

Threads for Cockaigne fashion collection for a medieval tale by Martijn van Strien

Van Strien based the accessories on clothing he imagined would be worn in the mythical kingdom Land of Cockaigne, a land of plenty described in one of the fourteenth-century Kildare Poems.

He used the flamboyant ruched and ruffled garments worn in portraits of European nobility from the Middle Ages as a starting point for the designs.

Threads for Cockaigne fashion collection for a medieval tale by Martijn van Strien

"This project started for me with a fascination for the extravagant types of materials and textiles that I found in paintings of the kings and queens of the Middle Ages," Van Strien told Dezeen. "I saw so many types of construction that have been lost over the past couple hundred years that I wanted to bring back."

Taking the silhouettes of the historic designs, Van Strien wove the garments from contemporary synthetic materials to create the structure and volume.

"I've sought to make modern interpretations of these materials by using the modern textiles construction technique that I know best, weaving," he said. "The pieces are mostly woven in four layers, which allows you to put structures in the fabric that can either contract or expand the fabric."

Threads for Cockaigne fashion collection for a medieval tale by Martijn van Strien

The Threads for Cockaigne collection features a collar, sleeves and trousers that can be worn as accessories or attached to other items of clothing.

Van Strien used a four-by-four-metre Jacquard loom at the Textiel Museum in Tilburg, the Netherlands, to weave the clothes.

Metallic and transparent yarns give the layers various sheens. Fabric is drawn in at intervals to form billowed pouches along the arms and legs.

"By combining different elastic and filling yarns I created stretches of fabric that have different widths at different places," Van Strien said. "The textile is then only sewn together at the ends, as all the shape is already in the material."

Threads for Cockaigne fashion collection for a medieval tale by Martijn van Strien

Van Strien isn't a stranger to working materials in an unconventional way. He showed garments made of heavy-duty black tarpaulin at this year's Dutch Design Week.

Photography by Imke Ligthart.

Here's the text from the designer:


The Land of Cockaigne is a mythical land of plenty, an imaginary place of extreme luxury from medieval tales. Paintings depicting European kings and nobles of the era from the Dark Ages through to the Age of Enlightenment remind of this tale. They show a nearly dream-like display of the most extravagantly chic clothes seen in man's history. Nobility had themselves portrayed wearing clothes that made exuberant use of furs and delicate handcrafted materials such as quilts, embroideries and ruffled collars.

Threads for Cockaigne fashion collection for a medieval tale by Martijn van Strien

Inspired by these characters, lavishly showing off their wealth and status, I translated the materials and techniques used in their clothing into modern time, creating a contemporary ode to one of histories' most luxurious fashion eras.

I created this series of four parts of garments by combining the processes of designing materials and designing clothing. The pieces make maximum use of the structural qualities of the textile to give shape to the final outfit. They could either be worn on their own or added to a garment. The textile isn't cut or confectioned, only the endings of the fabric are brought together. By allowing the textile to show its unprocessed form, the final look of the product is prescribed by the choice of bindings made in the woven material.

Threads for Cockaigne fashion collection for a medieval tale by Martijn van Strien

Using new synthetic yarns I created textiles that have elastic and voluminous qualities at the same time. They evoke the look and feel of a historical type of attire in a new way.

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