Manchester interns at the TRC

Kate and Kazna at the TRC, March 2018

Kate and Kazna at the TRC, March 2018

It’s always fun to volunteer at the TRC, but today was particularly so. That’s because I got to meet two new women who are also passionate about textiles: Kazna Asker and Kate Askham. Both are 21 years old and both are second year fashion students at the Manchester School of Art (part of the Manchester Metropolitan University) in the UK. They will be at the TRC for two months in order to learn the ins and outs of managing a textile and dress collection, and especially to help photograph and catalogue the TRC’s growing collection.

“People are the most important thing to me. That’s what textiles should be about,” says Kate. She sees working at the TRC as a way to gain inspiration for modern design and information on the historical roles textiles have played in the past. “I like the stories that come with textiles and how much that tells you about people and how societies were at specific times.” Next year she will have to design six different outfits for her courses, so she is looking forward to bettering “my knowledge of historical pieces, of shapes and patterns”.

Kate cannot remember a time when she wasn’t drawing clothes. She’s inspired by many different styles, from the practicality of military clothes to the elegance of 1920s party dresses. Ultimately she would “like to combine my textile knowledge with ways to make social change. My mum inspires me—she’s always worked on changing things for the better. That’s a lot of what textiles are about.”

Kazna wants “to learn to go into more depth with textiles”, in order to deepen her understanding of Middle Eastern cultures, in particular the ancient culture of Yemen. “My parents, my grandparents, aunties and uncles are from Yemen. I’m a first generation British Yemeni. My passion as a designer is to influence and educate people, so they see the struggles and skills of Middle Eastern women” and not just the poverty. “My work is inspired by Middle Eastern textiles.” Her university tutors, aware of the TRC’s Yemeni dress collection, recommended the TRC to her.

“I’m a men’s wear fashion designer. I designed a men’s track suit for my last project, using velvet and gold, with prints inspired by the interiors of mosques.” For a recent course assignment on protest and fashion, Kazia studied the U.S. Black Lives Matter and the Arab Spring movements, and combined elements from hoodies and veils to produce a burqa track suit. “I want to make ethnic minorities feel empowered when they look at my work.” It was definitely inspiring to talk to both Kate and Kazna, and I look forward to reading the blogs they will be publishing as they work with the TRC’s collection.

By Shelley Anderson, Thursday 29th March 2018


Financial donations to the TRC can be made via Paypal; Donaties aan de TRC kunnen worden overgemaakt via Paypal:

TRC in a nutshell

Hogewoerd 164, 2311 HW Leiden. Tel. +31 (0)71 5134144 / +31 (0)6 28830428

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

Bank account number: NL39 INGB 0002 9823 59

Entrance is free, but donations are always welcome !

TRC Gallery exhibition: 22 Jan. - 27 June: Velvet!

facebook 2015 logo detail




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 Stichting Textile Research Centre. 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 to the TRC can be made via Paypal: