A series of textile designs by Peter Marigold, Hunting and Narud and Study O Portable tell stories about the production process and origins of cashmere
Product designers Peter Marigold, Hunting and Narud and Study O Portable have applied conceptual thinking to cashmere, to create a series of textiles that tell stories about the material’s origins.
The results, for cashmere brand Oyuna, are on display during London Design Festival in west London’s Brompton Design District.
Marigold aimed to highlight cashmere’s roots as a functional, hardwearing material worn by Mongolian nomads, rather than a luxury product ‑ echoing his 2012 installation for the brand that was based on a traditional Mongolian tent house.
For this project, he used heavy, raw steel to make rough marks on folded fabric, which he then immersed in water to initatiate a rusting process. The resulting patterns resemble those left on wood by rusting nails.
“I was interested in the possibility of capturing time and change as a decorative motif in garments,” he says. “The light, folded fabric weighed down by heavy pieces of rusting steel carry a record of the process of decay, almost like a shroud.”
Bernadette Deddens and Tetsuo – together, Study O Portable ‑ came across the fact that, during the second world war, many countries banned the production of knitted pullovers, because spies were using the pattern to transmit messages in code.
They saw a connection between this and digital coding in 21st century design and became interested in how a piece of knit could embody a code, through colours, patterns and mirroring.
To create their piece, Echoes, they designed a code using 1s and 0s, plotting each stitch individually. This was then sent to Mongolia for a programmer to translate into fabric using a knitting machine. Up close, it is pixalated but, when viewed from a distance, the colour graduation on the fabric appears smooth.
Amy Hunting and Oscar Narud were more interested in the process of making the cashmere itself. “It is very complex there are almost 100 steps between the goat roaming the mountains and the finished product,” says Oyuna’s founder Oyuna Tserendorj.
The chequered black and white patterns on their fabric, Time Piece, are a graphic representation of the number of hairs a Mongolian cashmere goat produces each year, month and day. It attempts to draw attention to the numerous processes involved in making the products we use every day.
The exhibition, Soft Edge, can be seen until 23 September, with a private view on 17 September at 6pm
Images: Shaun James Cox