There was a lot of attention paid to the rapper’s huge, multi-colored quilt, tho. Many people couldn’t have done this: they walked on the red carpet with Rihanna at this year’s Met Gala. A$AP Rocky did this. His style icon wife was always well-dressed. The sculpture was made by designer Eli Russell Linnetz and quilter Zak Foster, who used a blanket found in a California charity store to make it. As soon as she found out who made the original quilt, a woman posted a picture of it on Instagram.

Fashion’s biggest night was just the most recent example of how modern revivalists are rethinking quilts as high-end goods. Products made from old things have been used on major runways and in nostalgic winter collections to show that companies are environmentally friendly. Mary Fons, the former editor-in-chief of Quiltfolk magazine, is excited to see them become popular. A woman wrote that quiltss are cool.” As quilters, we love it when they show up on the red carpet.


Even tho big designers like Norma Kamali and Moschino have recently used quilted details in their collections, smaller labels like Stan LA have also used the technique. The California surfwear brand makes clothes out of old blankets. One overshirt, made from a Pennsylvania quilt from the 1870s, costs $2,250.

Stan Los Angeles’ embroidered clothes. Stan is in LA.

To make Tristan Detwiler’s jacket, he used an old baby quilt. He said it was his first “from scratch” project. He eventually met 80-year-old quilter Claire McKarns, who escorted him to her warehouse full of “hundreds and hundreds of her hand-curated quilts.” She then asked Detwiler to come to her craft club, where she met other quilters who were more skilled.

His art is based on the stories of unique textiles, like an 1800s sun-patterned coat that was hand-stitched by his great-great-great-grandmother. His clothes have tags that show where they came from. He says that family, generations, and history clearly make him feel happy.

This is how it used to be: the designer now makes one-of-a-kind pieces, and two of them are on display at the Met Costume Institute’s “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” show. The presentation shows a jacket and trousers made from a 19th-century quilt that was given to Detwiler by McKearns. In the show, there are 12 quilted items. It’s next to a Ralph Lauren quilted outfit from the 1980s.

When Adolfo did it in the late ’60s, Ralph Lauren did it in the ’80s, then Calvin Klein and Emily Bode started doing it again around 2017, Fons said. This is what Fons meant.

Generations of quilting.

Quilting is a “democratic art” that has been done by people of different income, ethnic, and religious backgrounds over the years in the United States. Gee’s Bend, Alabama, was an enslaved village that quilted for “survival,” says artist Michael C. Thorpe, with women making quilts out of old clothes and grain bags to keep their families warm.

Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson even used the term “patchwork quilt” in a speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention, which he used again in his famous 1988 “patchwork quilt” speech. In that speech, he said that America was a quilt with “many patches, many pieces, many colors, many sizes, all woven and held together by a single thread.” Amanda Garfinkel, an assistant curator at the Costume Institute, says that the remark is the start of the show, which emphasizes inclusivity and diversity. The quilted exhibits make people “feel something,” Garfinkel said, because they have “personal and historical stories.”

In Fons’ words, “Of course, our country doesn’t always show these values, but quilts are still seen as symbols of maybe what we want to be.”

He stands in front of two quilted basketball pieces. Allyson “Allyson” Kugler:

Instead of copying old designs, quilters like Thorpe are adding new elements to their work. Thorpe’s cloth portraits show Black history, his own mixed-race experiences, and his childhood dreams. Despite his modern approach, viewers of the artist’s recent Miami display recalled their own grandmothers, he added. It makes people feel better, he said. “I think that’s what people want.”

Links the Dots

Americans may be hurting the fashion industry by making new clothes out of old quilts, says Fons. This is what he thinks. In a speech, she said that “we could lose a huge chunk of American history, especially the history of women and people who have been abused.”

Hand stitching skills are also becoming less common. Quilts are usually made by sewing together strips of fabric by hand or machine, then sandwiching batting between the front pieces and the backs (giving them a distinctive puffiness and insulation for warmth). In the last few decades, electric longarm sewing machines have changed the way people make quilts, but some people are going back to “hand-piecing and hand-quilting” and “engaging with quilt tradition,” Fons said.

It may be a sign that people are looking for “authenticity” in a time when mass manufacturing and digitalization are common, she said. The sense of community and preservation that comes from quilting is a contrast to modern life’s fast pace and the anonymity of industrial production, Garfinkel said.

The event takes place in New York City on October 13, 2021. In the last few years, she has been using digital patchwork to make things. This picture was taken by Patrick McMullan.

He said, “I think people are more interested in things that take a little longer, and they like going back to being more hands-on.” The idea of slowing down and working together

A new era is beginning.

Fons, who is an editorial advisor for Quiltfolk, says that her readers are “about 50 years old,” which is about right. It was during this time that she said that she had talked to both novice and experienced quilters.

If you don’t have money for a machine, fabric, or batting to fill the quilts, you can use your new skills on TikTok to save money on clothes. Wandy the Maker, for example, shares how to make quilts to encourage Generation Zers to dress more responsibly. Gigi Hadid, a New York City model, went to Moschino’s Spring-Summer 2022 fashion show in Bryant Park. The brand’s most recent designs were quilted. Gilbert Carrasquillo, who works for Getty Images, took this picture.

Fons said that the American love of quilting has “elements of fetishism.” There is a good reason why so many people want things made by hand, artisanship, and slow processes. Modern life is fast and scary. It’s not true, but many people think of quilts as a sign of simpler times.

The world of quilting is in a good place right now.


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