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TRC Blog: Textile Moments

Burkini: When men tell women to undress for modesty's sake

Ban the Burkini sign

Ban the Burkini sign

Women’s burkini swimwear seems to provoke controversy. In 1907, the Australian world champion swimmer, Annette Kellerman, was arrested by police for indecency. Her ‘crime’ was to wear a one-piece swim suit that stopped above her knees. Decades later the bikini was banned in several countries after its first appearance in 1946. Proclaimed ‘sinful’ by the Vatican, the fashion magazine Modern Girl Magazine wrote in 1957 that "it is hardly necessary to waste words over the so-called bikini since it is inconceivable that any girl with tact and decency would ever wear such a thing".

And now there’s the burkini, swimwear that covers everything except a woman’s face, hands and feet. It’s popular with some Muslim women who want modest clothing. This August in France over twenty coastal municipalities declared a ban on burkinis. Dozens of women have since been fined for wearing a burkini based on the grounds that the outfit does not respect “good morals and secularism”. In Nice, four police officers demanded that a Muslim woman lying on the beach remove her long-sleeved tunic. Photographs of the incident went viral and prompted an international debate. While France’s highest administrative court has ruled that the burkini ban of the town of Villeneuve-Loubet is illegal, mayors of other communities with similar laws have refused to lift their bans.

Read more: Burkini: When men tell women to undress for modesty's sake

   

TRC in Indonesië

TRC vrijwilligster Else van Laere in Sulawesi, Indonesië.

TRC vrijwilligster Else van Laere in Sulawesi, Indonesië.

Else van Laere, een van de TRC vrijwilligers, is momenteel in Indonesië waar zij voor de organisatie PUM helpt bij het verder uitbouwen van een commerciële textielondernemning. Zij stuurde ons het bijgesloten bericht:

Voor PUM ben ik nu bij een bedrijf dat gerund wordt door een 37-jarige vrouw, Kristina, en waar met name (school)uniformen en kleding op maat wordt gemaakt. Het is het meest verbazingwekkende bedrijf dat ik in al mijn Pum-missies ben tegengekomen. Als kind van acht jaar werd Kristina langdurig ziek en van school genomen. Na een half jaar was ze nog steeds niet beter en toen moesten haar ouders haar het huis uit doen (anders zouden de ouders volgens een plaatselijk geloof overlijden). Ze kwam terecht bij een gezin waar ze tot haar 17e als meid werkte. Toen trouwde ze. Haar man kreeg een baan elders in de provincie, maar overleed daar al gauw. Daar zat ze als 18-jarige met een kind van tien maanden. Ze heeft dat kind elders moeten onderbrengen en is weer als meid gaan werken (je hebt dan alleen kost en inwoning, maar geen salaris). Ze hertrouwde, maar is in 2007 weer gescheiden. Ze had toen vier kinderen.

Ze heeft vervolgens werk gevonden in een naaiatelier en daar twee jaar gewerkt. Toen had ze geld genoeg gespaard om twee naaimachines te kopen en is samen met haar zus voor zichzelf begonnen. In 2013 gaf ze naailes aan diverse jongeren en de 25 besten vroeg ze te blijven. Ondertussen was ze de scholen in de omgeving afgegaan om orders voor schooluniformen te krijgen. In Indonesië dragen alle schoolkinderen (en ook ambtenaren) een uniform. De scholen schrijven elk jaar een ander uniform voor, dus elk jaar moeten alle kinderen een nieuw uniform aanschaffen. Ze kreeg de nodige opdrachten: niet omdat ze goedkoper was maar omdat ze de onderwijzers een “bonus” in het vooruitzicht stelde, in de vorm van kleding of stof. Sindsdien groeit het bedrijf als kool; ook omdat ze kwalitatief betere uniformen verkoopt en ze (meestal) tijdig aflevert.

Read more: TRC in Indonesië

   

High delegation from Iran

Woven (brocade) cloth from Yazd, Iran, presented to the TRC by H.E. Masoud  Soltanifar, Vice-President of Iran.

Woven (brocade) cloth from Yazd, Iran, presented to the TRC by H.E. Masoud Soltanifar, Vice-President of Iran.

The last few days have proven, most unexpectedly, to be quite exciting and intriguing! Early on Thursday afternoon the Iranian Embassy, The Hague, rang the TRC to say there was a delegation of Iranian officials in the Netherlands and they would very much like to come and see the TRC, discuss how we work, and to review our collection of Iranian dress, which we assembled some fifteen years ago in Iran. At present, the Iranian dress and textiles collection at the TRC consists of over 1200 items and includes garments and outfits for men, women and children from all the main cultural and ethnic groups in the country. We could collect the textiles thanks to the financial support of Shell and the enthusiastic cooperation of the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organisation (ICHHTO).

A few hours later our honoured guests arrived. They included His Excellency Mr. Masoud Soltanifar, Vice-President of Iran and President of the ICHHTO; the wife of Mr. Soltanifar; Dr. Bahman Motlagh (the deputy of Mr. Soltanifar; the wife of the Iranian ambassador to The Netherlands, and staff from the Iranian Embassy.

Read more: High delegation from Iran

   

Opening of the exhibition, and much more

The TRC’s latest exhibition Embroidered Europe is now open and attracting many visitors from all over the world – literally from Taiwan to Twente. In addition, on Thursday we had the privilege of showing the exhibition to H.E. Masoud Soltanifar, the Vice-President of Iran and his wife, as well as the wife of the Iranian Ambassador to the Netherlands, and other honoured guests. See my blog article about this visit.

In order to give people an idea of the scale and variety of the current exhibition, we are now working on a visual report with a number of photographs from the official opening that took place on Tuesday 30th August. This will be sent around next week to followers of the TRC as well as appearing on our webpage.

The opening was carried out by the well-known Dutch textile and costume curator, Ms. Gieneke Arnolli (who is also chair of the Dutch Kostuumvereniging), and Mr. Daniel Czonka of the Hungarian Embassy, The Hague, responsible for cultural affairs. But, quite rightly, attention at the opening was focussed on Mrs. Magdalena Kircher, whose collection (some 1500 pieces) has just come to the TRC. This exhibition was designed to honour her work, dedication and love of European regional dress. The TRC is now in a position to carry on her work in the form of this and more exhibitions, publications, and workshops.

Speaking of workshops, on Wednesday 31st August, the TRC’s Wednesday Workshop was on the theme of European Embroidery, with an in-depth guided tour of the exhibition, and a two-hour practical based on various techniques, from chain stitch to Hungarian braid stitch, in various materials (cotton cloths and felt) and threads (cotton, wool of various ply’s and thicknesses). The Hungarian braid stitch is fun to do, once the initial technique is mastered and it is a very effective method of decorating a garment.

The next Wednesday Workshop will take place on the 28th September and is about the Holbein stitch. In addition, there is a 5-day intensive textile course between 19 - 23 September (two places available), and again between the 17th and 21st October (one place available). On the 4th – 5th November there is a two-day workshop about veils and veiling – with a burkini available for people to see what it actually is and what all the fuss is about! Please get in contact with the TRC at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you wish to attend any of these, or indeed any other, TRC workshops.

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 9 September 2016

   

Chart for Hungarian/Romanian embroidery

One of the blouses in the TRC collection and currently on display in the exhibition Embroidered Europe, is decorated on the sleeves with bands enclosing an intriguing design of ornate squares and tiny trefoils. The embroidery is worked in cross stitch and double running stitch (Holbein stitch) on a fine, even-weave cotton ground.

The blouse comes from Hungary/Romania and dates to the mid-20th century. The design is worked in a mid-green cotton thread. It can also be worked in silk, a six-stranded cotton thread (three strands at a time) or a fine, cotton perlé, but please remember that the ground material needs to be adapted to the type of thread used. At first glance the pattern looks easy, but you have to take care because of the mirror imaging and reversals in the pattern.

Chart for embroidery on an Hungarian/Romanian blouse. Please click the illustration for PdF file.

Chart for embroidery on an Hungarian/Romanian blouse. Please click the illustration for PdF file.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 10 September 2016

   

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TRC in a nutshell

Hogewoerd 164, 2311 HW Leiden. Tel. +31 (0)71 5134144 / +31 (0)6 28830428   info@trc-leiden.nl

Opening times: Monday to Thursday: 10.00-16.00 hrs, other days by appointment.

Bank account number: NL39 INGB 0002 9823 59

Gallery exhibition, 3 April - 29 June: From Kaftan to Kippa

Entrance is free, but donations are always welcome !

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Financial gifts

The TRC is dependent on project support and individual donations. All of our work is being carried out by volunteers. To support the TRC activities, we therefore welcome your financial assistance: donations can be transferred to bank account number NL39 INGB 000 298 2359, in the name of the Textile Research Centre, Leiden. Since the TRC is officially recognised as a non-profit making cultural institution (ANBI), donations are tax deductible for 125% for individuals, and 150% for commercial companies. For more information, click here
 
Financial donations can also be made via Paypal: