Dezeen Magazine

New York Textile Month will highlight the revival of cloth, says Li Edelkoort

Trend forecaster Li Edelkoort has announced plans for a month-long celebration of textiles in New York, saying that "not enough attention" is being paid to fabric innovation.

The inaugural New York Textile Month will take place across the city this September and will aim to raise interest in fabrics among both professionals and the public.

"There is not enough attention from the general public about textiles," Edelkoort told Dezeen. "The press notably has forgotten to talk about textiles for the past 30 years, and it seems to me that now it is making a comeback."

Edelkoort is working with The New School: Parsons School of Design and Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum on the festival, which will become an annual event if it is successful.

"There's a revival in the materialisation of cloth," she added. "Textile is really on the rise, which is helpful because it was almost extinct."

In line with this revival, Nike opened a textile design studio in east London to develop new fabrics for its shoes and apparel. Recent developments in the area include a new technique that brings "unprecedented precision" to the felting of woven textiles and MIT's 3D-printed fur.

Taking place throughout September, New York Textile Month – which doesn't have a website yet – will incorporate existing events such as New York Fashion Week and pre-planned museum exhibitions.

Cooper Hewitt Design Museum
Edelkoort is collaborating with the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum for the New York Textile festival

Also as part of the programme, the city's major design and fashion institutions will host dedicated showcases, talks and other textile-focussed events.

Parsons, where Edelkoort is dean of Hybrid Design Studies, is putting on an edition of its Talking Textiles seminar on 30 September 2016.

The Cooper Hewitt is set to open Scraps: Fashion, Textiles and Creative Reuse, a showcase of alternative approaches to confronting textile industry waste.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will arrange visits to its Antonio Ratti Textile Center, where samples from its vast collection – spanning 3000 BC to the present day – are stored and studied.

MoMA's How Should We Live? Propositions for the Modern Interior exhibition will run concurrently, while the MAD museum will debut The Crochet Coral Reef – a series of yarn and plastic pieces by artists Margaret and Christine Wertheim.

The American Folk Art Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Textile Arts Center and Neue Galerie have also confirmed participation.

Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is among other New York institutions that will also be involved

Originally from the Netherlands, Edelkoort served as chairwoman of Design Academy Eindhoven from 1999 to 2009. She introduced the new Hybrid Design Studies department to Parsons in 2015. Earlier that year, she published a manifesto declaring that fashion is dead.

Last week, Edelkoort told Dezeen that both masters and bachelors students are turning their focus to materials.

"Fashion students are much more interested in making their own textiles, or transforming textiles, or creating new knits," said Edelkoort.

"We are in an age of new materialism, the making of materials comes first before form, colour, function," she continued. "Therefore we see that young design entrepreneurs are producing their own things."

Her focus on the subject previously resulted in the initiative called Talking Textiles, set up with long-time collaborator Philip Fimmano. The initiative led to a 2011 exhibition and the ongoing seminar programme at Parsons.

In a movie filmed by Dezeen in 2012, Edelkoort predicted that interiors and products would need more tactile designs as the use of computers and screens increased.