The ‘Talking Textiles’ exhibition, organised by Li Edelkoort in collaboration with Rossana Orlandi and Spazio Gainfranco Ferre, took place at the 2011 International Furniture Fair in Milan. The exhibition’s aim was to promote textile design talent from around the world and expand our perception of the use of textiles.

The show featured work by Fernando and Humberto Campana, Bokja, Maarten Baas, Inga Sempé for Moustache, Paul Smith for Maharam and our very own Laduma Ngxokolo. One of the biggest trends to emerge was a return to age-old techniques such as weaving, crocheting and knitting, as well as experimentation with materials.

Our favourite designers included:

Laduma Ngxokolo was flying the flag with his award-wining geometric knitwear inspired by the colours and shapes of Xhosa beadwork.

Lynn Tandler, inspired by blacksmith techniques, was transforming copper into malleable cloth. With a specially designed weaving technique, she can literally sew with metal.

Lenneke Langhuijsen investigated creating textiles using bark from Tonga, by cutting, pleating, embroidering, colouring, printing and washing the wood.

Ella Robinson collects driftwood and incorporates them with brightly coloured haberdashery, creating graphic totems.

Finally, Laerke Hooge Anderson explored biotechnology and sustainability by using natural fibres such as fur and animal hides to create fabrics of the future.