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New York Textile Month spotlights Belgian design, curated by Lidewij Edelkoort

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Image: The Gift to be Simple

New York Textile Month with see a special exhibition celebrating the craft of Belgian design, curated by Lidewij Edelkoort and Philip Fimmano.

Titled The Gift to be Simple, the exhibition features nine designers, who work with a variety of fabrics and textiles, from leather and raffia to hand-threaded linen rugs and clay lamps.

Belgium has long been a source of inspiration in textiles and still has a thriving flax, linen and weaving industry, even if the spinning factories no longer exist.

Like its fashion counterpart, a new generation of Belgian textile designers are creating works that very much embrace the future with their material research and experimental approaches.

New York Textile Month was founded by Ms Edelkoort, and the September edition will be its 7th outing, with the aim to celebrate textile creativity and promote textile awareness. In a manifesto Ms Edelkoort says today’s artists no longer know the materials they work with. She calls for a renewed interest in material processes, with fashion design starting to focus on fabric, interior design bringing back upholstery and art students reaching out the loom.

Natalia Brilli, one of the exhibitors, may be best known for her erstwhile fashion label. She now creates beautiful objects sheathed in upcycled leather, like tapestries and raffia objects made in a family workshop in Madagascar and hand-finished in Belgium. Her work oscillates between surrealist and symbolic influences and always urges a second glance.

Brussels-based textile designer Laure Kasiers creates and manufactures carpets and other textile objects in her studio. Using linen in unconventional and artisanal techniques, she creates shapes and patterns that are mostly organic, as if they came from nature, like a subtle degrade rug that oozes timelessness and craft.

Other designers in the exhibition are Emma Cogné, Design for Resilience, Vanessa Colignon, Charlotte Lancelot, Geneviève Levivier, Pascale Risbourg, Alexia De Ville and Céline Vahsen.

Textile design, recontextualised.

Whether it is in furniture, wall hangings or artistic installations, traditional ideas of Belgian textile design are being confounded and recontextualised, with the event in New York showing that the discipline is spinning, weaving and meshing new stories.

The exhibition is part of an initiative by Belgium is Design, which promotes Belgian design around the world and is an initiative of 3 institutions: Flanders DC, MAD – Home of Creators and Wallonie-Bruxelles Design Mode (WBDM). The latter is a platform that supports the internationalisation of designers and firms in the fashion and design sectors in Wallonia and Brussels.

The exhibition The Gift to be Simple will show at New York Textile Month from 2 – 10 October at 138 Wooster Street in Manhattan.

Belgium is Design
Lidewij Edelkoort
New York Textile Month