Reflections on the reading Losing the Thread by Virginia Postrel

In her essay Virginia Postrel takes the reader through the developments made in the textile industry throughout history and especially during the industrial revolution. She emphasizes how humans push for textile development helped shape technology innovations, and supported the field of Chemistry – “ The story of technology is in fact the story of textiles […] The origins of chemistry lie in the coloring and finishing of cloth”.

I found it quite fascinating to think about the fact that for “the first time in human history generations of women across the developed world grew up without learning the needle arts”.

Even though I wasn’t encouraged by my mother, and possibly even discouraged, I was drawn to learn how to sew and make garments. So drawn that after finishing my undergraduate degree I decided to take on Fashion Design. Cloths are such a huge part of our everyday lives; they touch our bodies, reflect our identities, communicates to others, change our moods, make us feel and keep our temperature…

I believe that the disconnection from making cloths is related to how people perceive it and therefore fashion. Since the making of the garments is inapparent, and since garment production is so cheap in particularly poor countries, I believe that it is harder for people to appreciate the technical intricacies and thoughts that go into making textiles and garments “In today’s popular imagination, fabric entirely belongs to the frivolous world of fashion.”

This line from Postural essay resonates with me: “The very invisibility of textiles testifies to their power. we think of them as natural”.