Collecting Textiles: An Eye For Detail
A long time ago I saw a photograph in a textiles book. It was taken in Balochistan, near Quetta in Pakistan. It pictured a group of girls sitting in the meadows. They were wearing the traditional Balochi costume. Colourful, detailed handwork and every dress was different, only the ground pattern was the same as can be seen in the picture above:
Years later I was able to buy such a dress in Peshawar, North Pakistan, on one of my travels. The fabric was a cheap synthetic fiber. However, the embroidery was impressive, with delicate needlework in cross and flat stitch. Unfortunately, I could not find more of these dresses. Because of the shape, color and handwork it was the perfect tunic for the quirky creative city dweller, like myself.
In 2014, when I was in Iran, we were visiting a beautiful park with a waterfall, a group of cheerful girls were walking ahead of us. They were wearing black dress-like clothing that covered them up but I noticed a small piece of an embroidered collar sticking out underneath.
“Hi, can I ask you something?”, I asked boldly, “Are you Balochi girls?” “Yes”, they answered very surprised, “we are! But how do you know who the Balochi are? And how do you know that we are Balochi?” I explained to them my passion for local costumes because of the beautiful needlework.
So, you have an eye for detail one girl replied.
Later on, I was able to buy several dresses from their village. My first thoughts about the Balochi dresses fitting perfectly in our city life became a reality. I am and have been selling these beauties and other traditional textiles now for many years. They are handmade, from affordable fabric and can be washed. Some wear and tear marks might be visible as they are unique vintage items that have lived a previous life in Balochistan, being worn by one of the Balochi women.