I have a google alert for sewing and quilting articles. I peruse dozens of articles a day, some I post to my Facebook page and others I read and move on. Today I read this article about Emily Adams Bode's new fashion collection and I saw red. I abhor designer clothing made from vintage quilts, it just infuriates me.
I am not the only one and this is not the first time this has been an issue. Back in the early 80's Ralph Lauren pioneered this habit of cutting up vintage quilts and creating designer clothing. Quilters objected vehemently to this style trend and you can read an article from back then by clicking here.
My favorite quote from the article comes from Mary Katherine Jarell, a quilt guild President.
"There's no reason to cut up a quilt to make a garment , whether it's a vintage quilt or a modern one. If you want to make the garment, make the quilted fabric."
I say AMEN to that. I thought quilters had fought this battle with Mr. Lauren and that destroying vintage quilts had faded away. However, guess who was an intern for Mr. Lauren back in the day? Yes, Ms Bode was and apparently some of his habits stuck with her.
Why do I object to this so adamantly? I think quilts endure, they live on even when they are fragile. Clothing, however is ephemeral.
I have given hundreds of bags of used clothing to Goodwill, etc. It gets stained, shrinks, is out of style or just not liked. Tons of American used clothing is sold abroad.
Clothing is used for a while and then discarded. Even Ralph Lauren, you can buy his "vintage" items at this site. Quilts are art to be used or preserved, not cut up for a season's trendy wear.
I am puzzled why a young designer would revive this controversial and already done practice. Perhaps it is to generate blogs such as this and I am playing into a publicity stunt. I just couldn't resist.
Neither could Quilters Newsletter which mentioned her collection in its scrap bag. I love the way they sniffed at her and also recalled that this was nothing new. I am glad they have a quilt memory as well.
I think Ms. Bode can do lovely things with vintage textiles. If her goal is to gain fame by stirring up old flames she should precede with caution. Mr. Lauren had an clothing empire behind him and irritating quilters didn't hurt his career.
With a fledgling career perhaps it is best to stir up buzz with what you create instead of what you destroy.
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