by Niamh McCooey
UK based textiles designer and weaving and embroidery specialist, Kate Whitehead. ‘My work is a protest,’ says Kate, ‘against the way textiles are consumed in western society.’ In her work, she revels in fabrics that are in a sense humble, and quiet. Kate uses only natural materials such as cotton and calico, and specialises in dyeing with indigo. Pushing against the sheen of mass-produced, fast fashion clothing, her work shines some much needed light on older, forgotten fabrics; those bits and pieces with stories hidden in between the folds, with faded dyes and tears and frays.
‘I want to go back to slower processes,’ she explains, ‘embrace tradition, salvage the discarded, and fix the broken.’ Kate’s perspective on cloth is completely in line with the slow fashion movement, which encourages slower production schedules, fair wages, lower carbon footprints and minimum waste. Author of ‘In Praise of Slowness’ Carl Honoré claims that this slow approach intervenes as a revolutionary act in today’s world, because it encourages taking time to give quality and value to the product, and contemplating the connection with the environment.
Every day we connect to the environment through cloth, and it’s makers like Kate who are surfacing it more and more. Whether it comes from the millennials, Gen X or Gen Y, the growing interest in sustainability is not only fuelled by consumer demands, but by artisans meeting them.
End To End is Kate’s latest exhibition a showcase of key pieces from her last three collections.
Feb 02nd 2022