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LCF alumna Sayali Goyal celebrates the heritage of Indian textiles during London Design Festival '19

Women working with different textiles and different traditional methods
Women working with different textiles and different traditional methods

Written by
Alexandra R. Cifre
Published date
04 September 2019

After spending months studying the culture of textiles across many regions of India, LCF alumna Sayali Goyal has prepared an exhibition to showcase the heritage and diversity of her country's textile tradition. Sayali, who's also curator and founder of the independent publication Cocoa & Jasmine, will host SAFED as part of the London Design Festival 2019. She recently told us more about her project and how she wants to tell the story of India through textiles.

Image credits - Sayali Goyal / Cocoa & Jasmine

Hi Sayali. You’re currently preparing your independent exhibition at London Design Festival. What can you tell us about your installation?

I came to London for the first time 11 years ago, and when I visited LDF I knew I would like to be part of something like that one day. For me, London is the centre of the world of culture and design, and to be able to represent Indian textiles on such a platform is an honour.

My installation will give people a new perspective on Indian textiles, showcasing its minimalistic approach. I hope after LDF people can gain more awareness about crafts and rethink our engagement with fashion and indigenous cultures.

Why did you decide to focus on Indian textiles?

My research started in the Indian region of Ladakh, then I travelled to Varanasi, Kolkata, Maheshwar, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and I will now continue to Assam, Kutch and Bangalore. The soul of this project lies in my love for materials and my interest to explore the possibility of these crafts in contemporary design. I also want to see how these clusters hold untold stories and how we can engage with them as a modern society.

Image credits - Sayali Goyal / Cocoa & Jasmine

You’re the founder of the online magazine Cocoa & Jasmine. What led you to start this project?

I launched the magazine last year after working in London, Berlin, Bombay and Delhi for 5 years, in both the design and the travel industries. I realised I wanted to create something that was multi-cultural, using all my skills and creating stories in different media. Cocoa & Jasmine started out as a publication, but has grown into a platform that aims to create dialogue through exhibitions, experiences and lectures around different cultural environments.

What's the philosophy behind Cocoa & Jasmine?

Cocoa and Jasmine is about finding art and poetry in travel. It’s about contemporary culture that is aware of traditions and of the past. The name was inspired by the cocoa fields of Coonoor and jasmine fields in Madurai in south India, so it’s personal yet felt by a larger audience.

I see it as a growing art project and a slow magazine. Our current issue focuses on migration and material culture, where Indian crafts have been explored as a theme of anthropology. I'm already working on my next project that will explore the Silk Route.

SAFED, a textile installation from India, will be at the Nehru Centre in Mayfair on 16-20 September 2019

You did your Foundation Degree on Fashion Surface Textiles in 2009. What's your best memory from your time at LCF?

I was always an observer and seeker. I really enjoyed the lessons in the studios, and also the lectures organised by the careers team — they opened my mind to all the possibilities of what I could do within fashion and culture.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career in the fashion industry?

Be curious and patient. Experiment and do what you need to do without worrying about playing it safe. I changed many internships and jobs, and went from freelancing to no money at all, and only now I have figured out what I absolutely love — and the learning continues! Introspection, having honest conversations with yourself, is important. Also, don’t be afraid to keep doing projects that satisfy the artist in you.

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