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Cotton has played a significant and controversial role in the history of the British Empire, the United States, and India, and is inextricably linked to the highs and lows of human endeavour. Today cotton is still our firm favourite, accounting for 65% of all fibres used for clothing and home furnishings. What accounts for its preeminence? Cotton is comfortable, absorbs moisture well, is strong and easy to launder; but perhaps it is its ability to retain colour that has accounted more than any other for its success. This issue we appreciate the appeal that pretty printed cotton feedsacks would have had during the great depression: and the appeal also of the work clothes re-purposed into attractive, albeit necessary, quilts across the southern United States.

Our love affair with cotton can be seen in the enduring appeal of printed cotton, from artisanal producers to Japanese prints to the resurgence of interest in selvedge denim jeans. The designer Carin Mansfield uses high quality cotton in the small-scale production of her heirloom quality clothing, available in white, black and indigo. Like cotton, the appeal of indigo crosses continents from Asia through Africa and back to the Americas – and every where in between. Rosalie De Ory has been a convert since visiting Central America 15 years ago, and has pursued her passion with verve.

The vibrant colours of traditional Mexican cotton textiles provided inspiration for our cover photographer Anne Menke as well as the contemporary upholstery company A Rum Fellow. We follow the trail to its source in Oaxaca, and on further to the San Blas Islands of the Panamanian archipelago. I hope you find inspiration wherever you follow the sun this summer.

Selvedge magazine offers the world's finest textile photography, unparalleled design and peerless writing. Directed towards an international, discerning audience, Selvedge covers fine textiles in every context: fine art, interiors, fashion, travel and shopping. It is published every other month.

The trial issue features an interview by Yoshiko Wada with African-American quilter Effie Mae Howard , Jessica Hemmings chats to dancer-turned-designer Mariem Besbes and Catherine Howard investigates the social and cultural manifestations of the use of feathers in South America.

Other features include a section on news discussing the latest tends and essential ideas, a section listing international exhibitions, fairs and up comings events as well as a section on newly released books.

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All subscribers will gain access to all 72 issues:

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