See the science in our clothes

Dr Wanda Wyporska, Executive Director at the Equality Trust

We wear clothes. We sleep under fabrics. We touch, feel, drape, and fold fabric without any thought of the science behind the dyeing, weaving and spinning of textiles. From ancient times, men and women across world communities have passed down the knowledge of plant dyes and properties, of weaving geometric, pixelated patterns, of spinning and tension and twist. We have spun tree bark, cotton and now soya, bamboo and banana. The discovery of the power of twist, progressed from a stick and a weight in spinning, to the industrial revolution, via the spinning jenny and mechanized loom.

Let’s teach knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving, sewing, dyeing and fibre arts as practical maths, biology, chemistry and physics. Let’s deconstruct garments as part of learning about shapes and let’s construct clothes as part of spatial awareness.

Dr Wanda Wyporska is Executive Director of The Equality Trust, the national charity that campaigns to reduce social and economic inequality to make society fairer. She also owns four spinning wheels, five looms, two sewing machines and enough fabric and fibre to clothe several generations.

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