Translating Tradition


Project: Translating Tradition

This is a collaborative research project which combines Western design practice with current Gujarati tailoring techniques. The starting point was my admiration for the cut of the kediyu (Fig 1), jama and angarakha, men’s cotton garments with a long tradition of wear in northern India.  The layered curves, prodigious gathers, and semi-transparent cloth of these masculine coat-like garments contain much to inspire Western fashion design.  Examination of museum specimens and close inspection of less important examples (including partial deconstruction) provided familiarity with cutting and construction techniques, and an understanding of the generic basis of the garment type. However, the collaboration offered an opportunity to interact directly with Indian makers, and to collectively explore with them a living tailoring tradition.  Individual interpretation of a single design by four Indian tailors revealed the breadth of variation possible within a shared craft practice, as well as the cross-cultural understandings and misunderstandings that can inform future collaborations.