The V&A holds one of the most important collections of textiles and fashion in the world, ranging from archaeological textiles to contemporary haute couture. The Clothworkers' Centre will be a dedicated facility to study, conserve and store the V&A’s textiles and fashion collection. Housing over 104,000 objects ranging from small archaeological textile fragments from Egypt to enormous tapestries created for medieval European palaces, the Centre also preserves a variety of historical fashion pieces from hoop petticoats from the 1740s to the latest creations by leading contemporary designers.
The donation from Coats, which has come from a combination of funds from Coats plc, Coats Crafts Division and The Coats Foundation Trust, has enabled one of the antique wooden display cabinets from the former Textiles Gallery to be restored to accommodate textile samples in the Study Room. The cabinet will contain 160 framed textiles showing the quality, geographic range and diversity of the collection and demonstrating a variety of textiles techniques and designs dating back to 500 AD.
Coats has a rich heritage dating back to the 1750’s and has been closely involved with textile crafts over the years. During the 1800’s the company was responsible for producing the world’s first cotton sewing thread and later introduced spooled cotton sewing thread to consumers, when previously all thread was sold in packets. Today Coats and its portfolio of brands maintains a pioneering culture and continues leading the way in providing complementary and value added products and services to the apparel, footwear and speciality industries and extending the crafts offer into new markets and online.
Paul Forman, Group Chief Executive, Coats plc, said: ‘Coats is extremely proud to be supporting the V&A in its development of the Clothworkers’ Centre which will be the world’s leading facility for the preservation and study of fashion and textiles.
‘There are many areas of commonality with Coats’ institutional expertise, international mindset and continuous innovations in the world of thread and related products. The access and educational aims of the Centre align with The Coats Foundation Trust’s objective of advancing education and the study of textiles, as well as with Coats Crafts’ ambition of bringing crafting to a wider and more diverse audience.’
The Coats Crafts Division is dedicated to raising interest in, and awareness of, crafting and will work with the V&A to provide tutors and products for Coats Crafts workshops at the V&A throughout 2014.
The Clothworkers’ Centre for Textiles and Fashion Study and Conservation has been developed at Blythe House in London’s Kensington Olympia and opens to the public from 8 October 2013. It has been made possible thanks to a generous lead grant from The Clothworkers’ Foundation and further support from many others.
With a rich heritage dating back to the 1750s, Coats is the world's leading industrial thread and consumer textile crafts business, at home in more than 70 countries, employing over 20,000 people across six continents. Revenues in 2012 were US$1.7bn.
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