�43,000 Lottery grant will recreate Bengal and London fashion connection

A �48,300 Heritage Lottery grant will help recreate the type of Bengal dresses worn by London’s fashionable ladies for more than three centuries.

The Stepney Community Trust in Myrdle Street will recruit a dozen volunteers, some of whom have traditional arts and craft skills, to carry out research and recreate some of the dresses worn in the capital’s polite society during the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries.

The Trust’s secretary, Bodrul Alom, said: “We are delighted the Lottery has agreed to support this unique project through which will emerge new understanding of the links between Bengal and Britain, and the role played in history by Muslins, the famous textiles of Bengal.”

The volunteers will also create some of their own designs inspired by the fashions and fabrics of the period.

Participants will also explore how individuals and companies decided what would be fashionable for the coming season, the original design methods used, and how the textiles were ordered, manufactured in Bengal and imported into Britain.

The project, supported by the Victoria & Albert Museum, the London College of Fashion and the Museum of London Barbican, will include visits to the institutions and training and workshops over the coming year.

The project hopes to create 24 dresses, a website, an exhibition and a full-colour book, and display some of the dresses in prominent museums and galleries.