Leheriya, Laura Spring ©

Photograph by Ruth Clark

Collaborative creations inspired by a historic Bombay sample book are being showcased by designers from Scotland and India as part of the British Council UK/India 2017 season.

Scottish design curator Katy West invited designers from both countries to explore the historic Turkey red archives and respond to the fabrics, their colours, patterns and motifs.

The India Street Bazaar exhibition is now showing these unique designs in Mumbai (4-11 November) and Ahmedabad (11-26 November) alongside a programme of events themed around slow fashion and design collaboration. 

Each of the products reflects on our position in relation to business models, ethics of production, fashion. The India Street Bazaar aims to highlight the importance of sustainability, looking at how contemporary designers can work ethically in our global, digital age.

Turkey red is the name given to a natural dye used widely during the nineteenth century which did not fade with exposure to sun or frequent washing. The invention of a chemical alternative in 1868 led a great reduction in the use of the natural compound and a subsequent loss in traditional knowledge.

The stories that emerge in the India Street Bazaar collections tell of re-discovery. While drawing inspiration from the Turkey red industry, the artisans have also engaged with aspects of their own histories. 

Those featured include: 

Together these designers have created vibrant garments and homewares in a collection which unites Scotland's nineteenth-century textile industry with the Indian designs and patterns it sought to replicate.

The exhibition recently finished a Scottish tour and its move to India marks a return to the project's starting point in Ahmedabad, where the Scotland-based designers first met their Indian counterparts three years ago to develop their commissions

The exhibition is supported by British Council Scotland, Creative Scotland and British Council India. 

Parakeet Pyjamas, Charlotte Linton ©

Photograph by Ruth Clark

Turkey red sample. ©

Credit: National Museum of Scotland.

About India Street

India Street in the Vale of Leven, West of Scotland, is a charming terrace that backs onto a derelict factory site. This site was once the home to a global textile industry, Turkey red, whose main market was India. Turkey red is the name given to a naturally dyed cloth; a foul, costly and complex process involving extracting red dye from the madder root. As well as brilliant, cloth dyed with Turkey red was extremely durable and did not fade in water or light.

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