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Dear Pennies,

Today, I wanted to drop off another Press Pen post about British designers, Basso & Brooke and their recent collaboration with the British Council in Uzbekistan. Basso and Brooke consists of Bruno Basso and Chris Brooke. They started their fashion label in 2002 and since that time they’ve won London’s Fashion Fringe award (2004) and the Elle Style Best New Designer award (2006). The designers are known for their use of digital printing on textiles. In essence, they made for the perfect choice for a collaboration with the British Council in Uzbekistan.


Basso & Brooke


In October 2009, Basso & Brooke traveled to Uzbekistan for ten days where they spent seven days at Style.uz Art Week and three days working with weavers at the Yodgorlik Silk Mill in Margilan. Bruno Basso remarked that, ‘What was particularly unique is the way that the weavers tie and then dye the warps, to create their intricate patterns. They have a level of skill in this area that we do not see now in modern European textile manufacturing’. The purpose of the project was to create new fabrics and designs using traditional Uzbek techniques.

Uzbek Textile Maker

Textile designer, Ruth Greany from the London-based Woven Studio was also involved. Collaborating with Basso & Brooke, custom ikats were designed and dyed in black, on various weights of white silk and woven at Yodgorlik mill. For those who don’t know, ikats are different types of traditional Uzbek fabrics and patterns. They usually have distinctive blurry patterns such as spots, droplets, and splashes. Ikats are beautiful and they can only be found in Central Asia.

Uzbek Woman Weaving Fabric

So what happened after the collaboration? Fashion was created of course! A dress made using the Uzbek fabrics and patterns became a part of Basso & Brooke’s collection and was shown at London Fashion Week in February and at Style.uz Art Week 2010. The dress is smashing and you can tell a lot of creative effort and planning went into making it. Kudos to Basso & Brooke for making the dress a reality!

Basso & Brooke Dress Made with Uzbek Fabrics

Basso & Brooke Dresses Made with Uzbek Fabric

As I mentioned earlier, the British Council of Uzbekistan is responsible for this project and many others. In an effort to bring awareness to the ancient art techniques of Central and South Asia where the Great Silk Road is located, the British Council created their new project the New Silk Road program. The British Council of Uzbekistan is seeking to use art to combat the negative stereotypes associated with the area and rediscover Central and South Asian art. In essence, the British Council brings UK designers to Central Asia so that ideas can be shared and collaborations can become realities.

In my humble opinion, that’s not such a bad idea. I love the sharing of arts and culture. Fashion is globalizing and really it has always been a global industry. Fashion trends originate all over the world and we all borrow and wear each other’s cultures. The more we share and interact, the better fashion gets. And I’m all for growth and exploration. After all, this is an international and multicultural fashion, style, beauty, and music blog.

And there it is. The Fashion and Style of the Pen…de la Pen.

For More Information Check Out These Links:

Basso & Brookehttp://www.bassoandbrooke.com/ and http://nymag.com/fashion/fashionshows/designers/bios/bassobrooke/

The British Council of Uzbekistanhttp://www.britishcouncil.org/uzbekistan

The Woven Studiohttp://www.wovenstudio.co.uk/lauramiles-com/index.html