Less than three hours from Paris near the Belgium border, lies the little town of Roubaix. Known for its long involvement in the arts and industry, Roubaix is home to La Manufacture des Flandres and Musée La Piscine, both of which our Parsons Paris students had the unique opportunity to visit. Initiated by fashion department faculty Brankika Zilovic. As Brankika explained in an interview, “this fashion trip was organized not only because of the two sites’ importance in the history of French and Flemish textile industry, but also because of a singularity and beauty of those museums!”
The Manufacture des Flandres is a museum-workshop dedicated to the memory of the textile industry in Roubaix, complete with fully operating machines. The museum presents many of the most influential innovations in the textile industry that revolutionized weaving technology. Sophomore Fashion Design student Ruben Zamora-Vargas remarked, “Seeing the history and progression of weaving was incredible. The jump from medieval, very physically-involved techniques, to the modern-day, electric jacquard looms (which require practically no human involvement) was shocking!”
The museum La Piscine houses “one of the most beautiful and most ancient textile collections in the world, together with a collection of fashion design, fine arts, and ceramic design.” Not only is the collection itself spectacular, but it is housed in a beautiful Art Deco municipal swimming pool; a landmark of the city of Roubaix. Lead by the curators of the museum, the students were also given the opportunity to visit the fabric archives, which houses one of the most extensive and best preserved collection of ancient and contemporary textiles in the world.
Corresponding to Fall 2014 Paris Fashion Week, Brankika, along with a group of students (Lindsey, Ksenia, Kristopher, Emmanuella, Jiwon, JinSoo, Sora, Ariel, Lynda, Twisha), created an installation in the window of the Parsons Paris Gallery all starting from the simple idea of thread. Check out the fascinating thread installation from the Fashion Week window!
Text: Kristina Parsons
Images: Ruben Zamora-Vargas