Rachel and I recently met with Guy Hill of Dashing Tweeds. I have been talking with Guy about this research project for a few years now and he has been very supportive, so it is exciting to finally be in a position to make plans.
I have chosen Dashing Tweeds material for the project for many reasons. It is a quality British tweed. It is innovative (ie. the lumatwill range uses reflective 3M yarn). There is a range for sporting activities (esp. cycling). The company are committed to collaborating for creative projects. And frankly, it is just gorgeous stuff.
The aim of the project was never to reproduce historically ‘authentic’ cycle wear. Rather, working with an innovative weaver provides another way of telling the unique story of a group of Victorian cyclists who took to the streets in revolutionary dress. The women who made and wore these radical cycling outfits were at the cutting edge of fashion. The patterns for these garments were unlike anything that had been worn by middle or upperclass women before. The way they wore them – moving at speed, unchaperoned and on bicycles – challenged normative gender codes of behaviour and pushed at the edges of acceptable Victorian society. It was a time when the key cities were flooded with new information and goods from around the world. The makers of these garments took advantage of the exciting new palette of materials available at the time (wools, imported silks, dyes and prints etc).
The backdrop of the blog is a Dashing Tweeds weave.
Guy recently made this lovely film about the making of the tweed.