Heritage Crafts and the Costume Society launch new partnership

15th January 2024  |  ANNOUNCEMENTS

Heritage Crafts and the Costume Society launch new partnership

The Costume Society Heritage Crafts and the Costume Society have joined forces to launch two training bursaries to ensure that new and early-career fashion textile makers have the skills they need to succeed.

Many people are dissuaded from training in the hand skills of fashion textiles because of the cost, and therefore the make-up of the sector is not truly representative of the UK as a whole. This bursary has been set up to help cover or subsidise the training of someone who would otherwise be prevented from pursuing this career path as a result of the cost.

©Leeds Museums and Galleries; photograph by Sara Porter They could be just starting out on your journey in fashion textiles, or at the point where they want to turn a hobby into a career, or they could already be a maker or designer who is looking to further develop their hand skills.

Fashion textile crafts can include, but are not limited to, dressmaking, tailoring, pattern cutting, hat making, millinery, glovemaking, fabric pleating, corset making, etc. Applications for training that prioritises the acquisition of practical hand skills will be favoured over training that is predominantly theoretical or design-oriented.

If you are new to the craft and you would like assistance with finding a trainer, please get in touch and we will do what we can to help. The two successful applicants will benefit from up to £4,000 in funding each, and be supported by the Heritage Crafts team to help them achieve their aims. For more information on how to apply for the bursaries (deadline 23 February 2024) visit https://www.heritagecrafts.org.uk/fashion-textile-bursaries/.

The Costume Society is a UK membership organisation formed in 1964 to promote the study and preservation of historic and contemporary dress. Its new partnership with Heritage Crafts will also see a brand-new Fashion Textile Maker of the Year Award launched this summer, with a £2,000 prize and a trophy to be presented at a special Winners’ Reception in November.

The fashion textiles bursaries announced today sit alongside others in precious metal skills (supported by The Royal Mint) and musical instrument making (supported by the Golsoncott Foundation and Jennifer Chen). Additional bursaries for other crafts will open in May.

Prof Natascha Radclyffe-Thomas, Vice Chair of the Costume Society, said:

“The Costume Society is delighted to be launching two new training bursaries and a new Fashion Textile Maker of the Year Award in collaboration with Heritage Crafts to mark our 60th anniversary year. The bursaries and award extend the Costume Society’s mission to support the study and promotion of historic and contemporary dress by enhancing and protecting the skills of makers that are so central to fashion textiles. These opportunities are made possible by a legacy from founder member Anne Thomas, who worked tirelessly to celebrate excellence in makers and making.”

Jay Blades MBE, Co-Chair of Heritage Crafts, said:

“At Heritage Crafts we believe that great design is rooted in hand skill, so that designers can fully understand the properties and behaviours of materials, and appreciate the labour and skill involved in using them to produce garments and accessories. We are delighted to be working with the Costume Society to bring fashion textile skills to talented individuals who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to develop them.”

Photo: © Leeds Museums and Galleries; photograph by Sara Porter.