Textile, fashion and memory project with Anand Mangal

In February 2019, we started working on a fashion, textile and memory project with the Anand Mangal group.  Using fashion and textiles as vehicles of memory, this project brought out autobiographical memories of migration through saris, jewellery and other objects and highlighted that clothing and textiles is a significant way that heritage is passed down the generations. This project included numerous workshops and museum visits, as well as a guided walk around Belgrave Road in Leicester, and a stitching stories workshop in partnership with Community Curators at Leicestershire County Council.

Part of the project was the co-curation of the Material Memories fashion show at the Loughborough Mela 2019 and the accompanying brochure – see the link at the end of this page.

One of the aims of the project was to work towards contributing to the diversification of Leicestershire County Council’s fashion archives and to include stories of South Asian migration and belonging in the town’s public heritage. Working in partnership with Community Curators, the project also led towards the ‘Stitching Traditions’ exhibition at Charnwood Museum from October 2019 – March 2020 and the inclusion of South Asian textiles into the county’s collections.

“[In Fiji] we wear the English clothes.  I wear the skirts and dresses like that, but we didn’t wear Punjabi dresses.  When I came here and started wearing that … But here with the in-laws we used to wear the saris, all the time we had to wear the saris.  At work as well, when we were sewing, we wore saris.  We were not allowed to wear dresses like that.  When I first came here we did wear, but my in-laws they didn’t like it so we wore the saris only … at work as well.  It was hard, you know, on the machine, it gets dirty, so it was hard, but we did wear saris … when it was snowing we used to wear saris.  We had to … Now everything is changed.  Everybody is changing, so we have to change with them.”

– Participant