Susan Bradley Smith

After finishing undergraduate studies in Sydney I spent the 1980s in London as a young journalist. Part of my job involved turning up at formal functions, and one lunchtime my new girlfriend from Yorkshire, Leonie, who worked in the artroom and whose sister was studying fashion took me to Laura Ashley on Kensington High Street where I purchased this balldress, with a tapestry bodice and taffeta skirt. I often wore it with eccentricity, I thought, adding vintage Edwardian lace-up boots andRead more

Leila Lois

Since I can remember, textiles have provoked feelings of comfort, wonderment and desire. Like most children I had a comfort blanket, a cotton sateen pillow, printed with meadow flowers; I would take each smooth, cold corner between my little finger and ring finger until I was lulled to sleep. I cannot remember living in the same house for longer than a year or so until my teenage years, as we regularly relocated for my parents’ careers as a psychiatrist and aRead more

Emilie Collyer

I find the textile message prompts existentially confronting. What does it mean to claim something as ‘favourite’? Is it a statement piece, like this yellow coat dress I found in a second-hand shop? I’ve only worn it once, who knows how many more times it will get a run. But when I see it in the cupboard in the study (where the rarely worn garments live) it brightens my day. And it looks amazing on, doesn’t it. Or is itRead more

Fiona O’Connor

Where I went to school little girls learned to sew. In 1968 the school inspectorate praised the girls of Belgrove National School in Dublin, ‘for the neatness of their handwriting, and, above all, for their needlework’. We sat for hours, two by two, in rows of wooden desks sewing squares of white calico. Starting from 1st class we learned ‘hemming, seaming, stitching’, according to our needlework syllabus book, which was written for Irish schoolgirls in the mid-eighteen hundreds. ‘1) LayRead more

Claire Rosslyn Wilson

I don’t normally dress boldly, I prefer the convenience of having an easy-to-match wardrobe, but I have a secret love for loud colours and complex patterns. Perhaps because of this, the textile object that has a fond place in my life is a bright blue mantón de manila, embroidered with flowers and bordered by a long fringe. The mantón de manila emerged from a traditional Philippine shawl, its fabrication was developed in China (due to their tradition of using silk)Read more

Mira Robertson

A piece of clothing that haunts you? The coat was olive green, knee length, and made of hairy wool that gave it a somewhat shaggy appearance. To my current-day eye, stylish and unique, yet back then, the source of humiliation and an object of passionate loathing. 1965. I was eleven and in my first year at boarding school. How, I raged, could she (my mother) have sent me off with such a horror when a camelhair coat was de rigueurRead more

Clare Archibald

Your favourite piece of clothing?Textiles are so interwoven in my mind with the colour language they offer it is perhaps not surprising that my favourite piece of clothing is one I can’t quite fully articulate with words. It eludes me in the specificity of its greenness, shape, and thread combination, in the feel of it. I no longer have it and realised when writing this that I also no longer have the memory of how I came to lose itRead more

Miranda Edmonds

This black beanie is from one of my favourite people in the world and always reminds me of her. It is warm but not too hot. Stylisty but never dates. It’s been around the world with me and is still going strong. It’s so good even my husband and eldest son try to borrow it but I always get it back! I was so pleased when I found these alphabet ribbons in an old box as they took me straight backRead more

Rowena Mondiwa

The drawstring has long since been lost but the bookbag is still intact and I keep it folded up among my belongings. I often think about how it’s my oldest possession, the one thing that has accompanied me in my life across the world. Now, as an adult, it makes sense that this would be the one possession I have kept from my childhood. I’ve had this bag since I was four years old. Back then I’d just started primaryRead more