NEWS [ TEXTILES ]

Google's Arts and Culture arm launches virtual exhibition project to promote fashion

Technology giant Google's Arts and Culture arm on Thursday launched a new virtual exhibition project that will showcase 3,000 years of the world's fashion and style, the company said in a statement.

The project 'We wear culture' is in collaboration with 183 renowned cultural institutions from around the world, including India, and will let people explore the history of clothes dating as early as 3,000 years ago from the ancient Silk Road, to the courtly fashion of Versailles, to the unmatched elegance of the Indian saree.

"We invite everyone to browse the exhibition on their phones or laptops and learn about the stories behind what you wear," said Director of Google Arts and Culture Amit Sood in a statement. "You might be surprised to find out that your saree, jeans or the black dress in your wardrobe have a century-old story. What you wear is true culture and more often than not a piece of art," Sood added.

The online project includes collections from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) and varied weaves from across India, from Gharchola to Patola to Temple to Ikat sarees, as it traces the story and importance of Indian textiles from ancient sculptures, the company said. It also showcases designs from north-eastern India including the weaves of tribes such as the Nagas, Meitis and the traditional attire from Meghalaya called 'Dhara' or 'Nara' worn by the Khasi women.

The project also includes icons and trendsetters like Alexander McQueen, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Audrey Hepburn, Christian Dior, Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, Yves Saint Laurent, Manolo Blahnik, Gianni Versace, Oscar de la Renta, Pierre Balmain, Miyake Issey among others. Fashion and textiles enthusiasts can explore over 400 online exhibitions and stories sharing a total of 50,000 photos, videos and other documents on world fashion, on the project's website and through the Google Arts and Culture app on iOS and Android.

Iran plans to set up its first apparel industrial town

Iran is the 36th biggest exporter of textile products and 90th biggest exporter of apparel in the world. Taking into account both textile and clothing products, the country’s ranking stands at 59th. With the aim of limiting imports, boosting domestic production and making the price of Iranian clothing more competitive, the country is now planning to set up a new apparel industrial town in Fashafouyeh, located in Tehran Province’s Rey County.

According to Director General of Textile and Clothing Department at the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade Afsaneh Mehrabi, some 45 hectares of land have been bought for the new apparel industrial park.

The Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade has mandated foreign representatives, branches and distributors of apparel in Iran who seek business licenses to produce goods worth 20% of their import value (in rial terms) inside Iran and to export at least 50% of this domestic production. The initiative is aimed at increasing domestic production, creating jobs and reviving Iran’s aging apparel industry.

According to deputy minister of cooperatives, labor and social welfare, Hamid Kalantari, the apparel industry has the highest job creation potential among all industries in Iran.

Currently, 9,818 industrial units are active in Iran’s textile and apparel industries licensed by the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade, constituting 11% of all industrial entities in the country.

According to Mehrabi, these units have created more than 290,000 direct jobs, accounting for 13% of all industrial jobs in Iran, the ministry’s official news service Shata reported.

Mehrabi believes setting up apparel industrial parks is highly beneficial for Iran, as it leads to transfer of know-how, increases quality and lowers production costs.

Italian and Turkish apparel producers will be present there for cooperation with Iranian producers.

Last month, Iran’s Small Industries and Industrial Parks Organization, Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social welfare, Cooperative Investment Guarantee Fund, Iran’s Clothing Association and Tose’e Ta’avon Bank signed a multilateral memorandum of understanding to set up Iran’s first-ever apparel industrial park near Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport.

Chairman of Iran’s Small Industries and Industrial Parks Organization Ali Yazdani said that the signing ceremony was held on July 12. Investors from Italy, China, South Korea and Turkey had already shown interest in this project.

According to the Headquarters for Combating Smuggling of Goods and Foreign Exchange, apparel tops the list of goods smuggled into Iran.
Textile, Apparel and Leather Industry Organization, affiliated to the Industries, Mining and Trade Ministry, had announced that some 90% of foreign garments are smuggled into the Iranian market.

In a bid to tackle the staggering rate of smuggling in the apparel market, the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration recently banned any commercial import of clothing by individuals.

The administration issued a directive late last Iranian year (March 2016-17), based on which the import of clothing is only possible by registered companies and authorized representatives under the Industries, Mining and Trade Ministry regulations.

According to the Central Bank of Iran, clothing had a 4.5% share in the total Iranian families’ spending in the fiscal 2015-16. In other words, each Iranian family spent an average of 15,897,000 rials ($423) on clothes.

Iran’s per capita apparel consumption is lower than the global average.

Designers bring handlooms to the forefront of fashion

Today, August 7th marks the third National Handloom Day, the official day when India celebrates its handlooms. It is a government initiative that is backed by the Textiles Ministry and also a part of the Prime Minster's larger 'Make in India' push. Handloom Day is an interesting idea and one should have a pride in remembering their crafts and promote sustainable fashion.

Last year, the Prime Minister official attended the function held in Varanasi and the first Handloom Day was celebrated in Chennai. This time it is being held in Guhawati, and though the PM himself is not expected to attend, the Textile Minister, Smirti Irani, will be present on the occassion.

In attendance was the Fashion Design Counil of India's (FDCI) president Sunil Sethi and designers such as Rajesh Pratap Singh, Raw Mango's Sanjay Garg and Anavila Mishra. And today on Handloom Day more details should be announced on a MOU between the ministry and designers, whereby each designer will work with a handloom cluster and produce a collection of 12 garments within the next year.

Over 35 designers from the FDCI will be part of this pioneering collaboration. Since Handloom Day has started, the relationship between government and the fashion industry has become closer; a clear positive for both the Indian fashion and weavers in India, said FDCI's Sethi.

Such programmes give designers easier access to craftspeople.

One of the designers who have really bought handlooms to the forefront of fashion is Raw Mango's Sanjay Garg.

Raw Mango is a brand of contemporary Indian hand-woven textiles crafted using traditional techniques. The label employs over 450 craftspeople, and his label has been worn by Sonam Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Kangana Ranaut.

Sanjay Garg feels as Handloom Day enters its third year, there is now a balance happening within the fashion industry. He, is looking at Chikankari, an embroidery form which Lucknow is famous for, it dates back to the Mughal Empire.

MEDC focus on Cambodian traditional textiles with a modern twist

Phnom Penh’s Modern Ethnic Design Center (MEDC), initiated by the suPPPort sustainable development group with the Fashion Design Institute in Berlin, Raffles International College in Phnom Penh and Messe Berlin trade fair company, has been teaching students how to tap into the international market, blending Khmer and European design.

Throughout the last year, 14 Cambodian students have spent time learning to adapt traditional Cambodian fabrics and patterns for the European market, employ sustainable production practices and work with local suppliers. About half the students had been working in the garment or textile industry already while the other half came from Raffles International College.

Polham Seila, founder of Khmer Artisanry in Phnom Penh, said the program had given her inspiration and shown how to simplify patterns so they appeal to the foreigner. It’s somewhere in between traditional and modern.

Her designs include patterns inspired by Angkor Wat and dragon scales, which she’s learned to incorporate into modern products.

The MEDC also helps students adjust their products to fit their target market. Since Ms. Seila’s naturally dyed fabrics are often above the local price range, she tailored her collection for 25- to 45-year-old foreigners. In the future, she hopes to bring her designs to the U.S. by selling them on Amazon.

Students are also given advice on how to capitalize on a growing international demand for unique, sustainably sourced products.

Ozan Oezdemir, managing director at suPPPort said that Cambodian designers have those kind of products, they just need to match that with what the international markets actually need.

Anne Lonnes, a graduate from the Fashion Design Institute who instructed the course, said that it focused on using traditional Cambodian weaving
methods of silk and cotton, as well as patterns such as ikat (a dyeing technique), in the loose-fitting, casual-chic styles preferred in Europe at the moment.

Models draped in classic Cambodian textiles melded with modern designs strutted across the runway under the glare of spotlights as an enthralled audience showed their appreciation.

At the fashion show held last night at Meta House where models draped in classic Cambodian textiles melded with modern designs showcased the work of fledgling designers, five students were chosen to showcase their products at Bazaar Berlin, an international sales show: Mr. Suphearac and Ms. Seila, along with Samnang Kang, Vannary Sang and Sam Ath Cheng, will head to Germany in November with all expenses paid.

Mr. Oezdemir, of support said that they want to help them have financial success in what they do, that’s why they take them to a business-to-consumer trade fair so they can directly try the Berlin market.

The program will also connect selected students with businesses in Berlin and online sustainable fashion retailers.

How Naomi Campbell Does Wedding Guest Style

NAOMI CAMPBELL attended the glamorous wedding of marketing manager Carol Sabbagha in Beirut, Lebanon, at the weekend wearing not one, but two standout gowns.

For the celebrations at Chateau Rweiss, Campbell looked to Ralph & Russo,the first British brand to be elected in almost 100 years by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in 2014. Pictured posing next to the bride, the model looked at home in a red-carpet-ready autumn/winter 2017 couture confection, a turquoise one-shoulder silk gown with dramatic thigh slit. A diamond headdress and cuff completed her ensemble.

The Vogue contributing editor was in glamorous company at the lavish Lebanon celebration. Tamara Ralph, who founded Ralph & Russo with partner Michael Russo in 2007, was captured in the photographs that emerged on social media alongside Victoria’s Secret star Izabel Goulart, who wore Zuhair Murad.

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