Borders Textile Towerhouse is hosting an afternoon of talks and film focusing on the work and legacy of the influential textile designer, Bernat Klein, which will inspire textile students and fans of fashion of any age.
This free event, which takes place on 22 March, will feature a screening of the film Refuge Britain, and is the first in a series of events that will take place across the region.
Following the opening address by The Rt Hon the Lord Steel of Aikwood, Patron of The Bernat Klein Foundation, speakers Lisa Mason, National Museums Scotland and Dr Anna Nyburg, Imperial College London, will explore the work of Klein in the context of wider networks of émigré designers practicing in post-war Britain.
Throughout 2020, The Bernat Klein Foundation, with support from charity Live Borders and Heriot Watt University, will deliver a diverse programme of activities in the Scottish Borders, which celebrate Klein’s legacy. This has been possible thanks to funding support from the William Grant Foundation and National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The events will culminate in an exhibition at Borders Textile Towerhouse opening in November, showcasing the work created throughout the project.
Alison Harley, chair of the Bernat Klein Foundation, said: ‘We are delighted to be working with partners in the Scottish Borders on this year-long project that focuses on Bernat Klein’s creative and cultural legacy.
‘As a leading innovator and creative thinker whose outlook was international, Bernat Klein located his particular design and artistic philosophy in the Borders for some sixty years.
‘Through this project we hope to gather new voices around his work as well as discover the influences of his legacy on those who contributed to his achievements as a designer and textile manufacturer.’
Shona Sinclair, curator for charity Live Borders, said: ‘Bernat Klein was a hugely influential designer and we are very proud to be part of a year of events which celebrate his legacy. The activities and the culminating exhibition are a perfect fit for the Borders Textile Towerhouse and we look forward to welcoming visitors, young and old, to appreciate his amazing work.’
Bernat Klein led an interesting life. In 1952, Serbian-born Klein set up a weaving centre in Galashiels, producing innovative textiles and rugs. He became famous for his strikingly bold use of colour, and in the 1960s, his work was used by Chanel and other top designers across the world.
In 1966, he employed hand-knitters in and around Selkirk to work for him, and during the 1970s, he produced his own fashion collections. His signature fabrics included vibrant tweeds, incorporating textures such as mohair, velvet, or ribbon.
The event organisers are interested in meeting anyone who knew Bernat Klein, worked for him in Galashiels or Selkirk, or wore his designs.
Interwoven Networks: Bernat Klein and refuges from Nazi Europe’ takes place from 2-5pm on Sunday 22 March at Borders Textile Towerhouse, Hawick. Attendance is free, but booking is essential at www.liveborders.org.uk