The Red Dress Project, started in 2009 by British artist Kirstie Macleod, began as a project and platform for women across the globe to tell their stories through the beautiful, ornate art of embroidery. The dress, which was a total of 13 years in the making, is now complete, ready for its worldwide tour across galleries and museums, with South Africa on the upcoming list.
Embroiderers at different skill levels (some novice, some expert) from countries across the globe including South Africa, Kenya, Mexico, Egypt and Japan, all contributed to the work of art. The dress explores the identities, cultures and traditions of its makers.
What started as 84 pieces of burgundy silk dupion has now transformed into a one-of-a-kind, global, multicultural masterpiece with its roots firmly planted in 47 different countries.
Artists and embroiderers were encouraged to express their own identities with their cultural and traditional experiences in mind, which resulted in a beautifully unique combination of textile works.
Many of the women who worked on The Red Dress rely on embroidery as their lifeline. Working on the project not only offered these women a platform for their voices to be heard, every artist was that was commissioned onto the project (who didn’t volunteer) was paid for their work, and are now able to earn a better living because of it.
The Red Dress is now on tour worldwide and is scheduled for a visit to South Africa in 2024, at the South African Quilt Festival. For more information on where else The Red Dress will make an appearance, visit the website.
Feature Image: The Red Dress Project