Magazine of the Week

Hi, everyone! This week’s magazine is Livingetc.

Livingetc is listed on our Interior Design & Shelter mags list, but it presents plenty of entertaining tips and images, as do many of the home-focused titles. The content emulates the minimalist lifestyle currently so hot in Japan, Western Europe, and the U.S. This magazine comes out 12 times a year, and was founded in 1998. It is published by Time Inc. UK, which publishes a few of our favorite titles, like Wallpaper* and InStyle. Livingetc always had a food editor, with Jamie Oliver being one of its first. The title added online resources in 2005.




Despite being “the “UK’s leading brand for gorgeous modern homes, styled with personality and flair”, the ideas inside are more accessible to DIY efforts than many of our other shelter magazines. Even compared to our Elle interiors titles, this magazine’s editorial feels super fresh.






As with many of our newer publications, this title blurs the line between advertisement, curatorial/editorial, and design. Living Inc. collaborates on a line of furniture and home accessories. They also have published travel videos and maintain an active website where consumers can track writers as they scout for design inspirations. Occasionally they also stray into the fashion world.







We really love this magazine because the British point of view has a colorfulness and humor to it that the American interiors titles lack. We love its combination of attractive, clean aesthetic, but with the affordability of their ideas. In particular, their holiday decorations this season were super cool! I hope you enjoy them, too. FIT’s library sends cheery holiday greetings to you and yours no matter what you celebrate!



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Technology threads: a tale of textile history

Woven silk from Han Dynasty tombs in China, 206 B.C.E.-220 C.E.

In this brave new world, designers and techies are trying to apply new technologies to improve a very old one: clothing. The history of clothing, fashion, culture, and technology are deeply embedded in the history of textiles. I started to write about new tech developments in fashion and fabric, but then I got excited, as I always do, about the ancient history of textile technology. Archaeology keeps bringing us updates, so I thought it would be fun to review the latest research about the four fibers we use most: silk, linen, cotton, and wool.

The four most popular natural fibers processed into woven textiles have long histories:

Court ladies reeling silk and weaving it on a complex loom


Silk finds can be dated to c. 8500 B.C.E. in China. We don’t know if these are the remains of clothing or just evidence of the silk worms themselves. Old stories suggest that this area was the original place sericulture (raising of silk worms and preparing silk thread for use) began.





The traditional Chinese myth is that Lady Hsi-Ling-Shih, wife of the Chinese emporer c. 3000 B.C.E., discovered silk’s fiber properties when she accidentally dropped a silkworm cocoon into her tea. Maybe she did and maybe she didn’t, but we do know that woven fragments of silk, dating from around 3000 B.C.E were found in Zhejiang province.

Map showing ancient trade routes from Europe and the Middle East to China

Silk was so valuable that traders came from all over Europe, Indonesia, and Africa to exchange goods such as horses, wool, gold, silver (to the east) and return to the west with jade and porcelain, salt, and silk. At certain periods, it was used as a form of currency at the imperial court of China.

Linen is also ancient, and was heavily until the industrial revolution. No one knows how people figured out that if the stem were wet, the fibers inside it could be spun and woven.

Harvesting linen in ancient Egypt: wall mural at tomb of Petosiris, Tuna el-Gebel, 350-300 B.C.E.


World’s oldest woven garment, of Egyptian linen, c. 550-5100 b.c.e. Petrie Museum, London


Woven linen has been found in Turkey, c. 7000 B.C.E. The world’s oldest remaining garment is also made of linen, c. 5000 B.C.E. in Egypt. This garment, currently in the Petrie Museum of Archaeology, University College, London, would have been likely been knee length originally. Its careful pleating and specifically V-neck suggest an aristocratic garment worn in a socially complex, wealthy society.

Ancient Egyptians wore mostly linen, woven into squares and carefully pleated and belted around the body. Egyptian mummies were also wrapped in long narrow yardages of linen.



3 men working in the fields, 1 stripped to his linen underwear. From Crusader Bible, c. 1250 C.E.



By the time Middle Ages (roughly 400 C.E.-1500 C.E.) most European clothing consisted of a linen undershirt under outer layers of (usually) wool. Linen is sturdy and held up to frequent washing, as well as being cool in the summer and keeping body oils off the harder-to-clean outer garments.

Peruvian cotton dyed indigo, and computer simulation of its original appearance. Images by Smithsonian Magazine





The oldest cotton find is from the Neolithic find at Mehrgarh c. 7000 B.C.E. (now in Pakistan). More recent finds from Peru, c. 4000 B.C.E. show the oldest-known use of indigo as a dyestuff. The color and cloth of your blue jeans goes back a looooonnng way! Other species were cultivated in Egypt by 1600 B.C.E.



Assyrian relief of King Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.E.) thought to have introduced cotton into ancient Assyria


Four different strains of the cotton plant (Gossypium sp.), domesticated separately in different areas of the world. Strains of the plant included Meso-American  (Gossypiam hirsutum) and South American (Gossypiam barbadense) versions; the Indus Valley (of India and Pakistan) variant (Gossypiam arboreum) became the dominant old-world strain of the plant, which spread to Africa, Asia, Greece, Iran, and Iraq. The Arabian/Syrian strain (Gossypiam herbaceum L.) also spread to Africa and still grows wild there. G. hirsutum has taken over in popularity and is the strain most cultivated today.


Cotton production and importation is mentioned in historic sources as diverse as early Sanskrit writings, Herodotus (c. 484-425 B.C.E.), and the Christian Bible.




Evidence for sheep’s wool goes back to roughly c. 2700 B.C.E. in the Minoan culture and closer to c. 3000 B.C.E. in what is now Israel.




These are not the only natural fibers people use for cloth or clothing. Here is a listing of many more:


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Magazine of the Week

Hi, everyone! Welcome back.


Pin-Up‘s  name is a provocative double entendre: in the world of architecture (and many other arts practiced at FIT), it is common to pin one’s project on the wall for discussion with colleagues. This magazine aims to challenge the reader with a fresh presentation of designers and the designed building. Published twice a year, this title was started by architect Felix Burrichters in 2006. As a young man starting out in a dull job, he kept fantasizing about the magazine he wanted to read.


He was inspired by several other titles (all of which we carry), namely Numero and Fantastic Man, with a smattering of New York Magazine‘s “Approval Matrix”. After doing a summer internship with the publishers of Fantastic Man and The Gentlewoman, he decided to begin his own magazine.


“Magazine for Architectural Entertainment”





Pin-Up presents architecture, interiors, and interesting locations (for their architecture and interiors). Advertisers offer design-forward furniture and accessories, as well as some avant-garde fashion and the occasional motorcycle.






Burrichters says he tries to include differing points of view from working architects, often including several interviews per issue. The layout is busy, varying, with different features resembling completely different mood boards or artist’s work. He maintains a global focus.





In a 2016 interview with the website Amuse, Burrichters listed his five top pieces in Pin-Up:

  1. PIN–UP L.A. residency (PIN–UP 9, Fall Winter 2009/10)
  2. PIN–UP Berlin residency (PIN–UP 12, Spring Summer 2012)
  3. PIN–UP São Paulo residency (PIN–UP 14, Spring Summer 2013)
  4. PIN–UP Interviews book (November 2013)
  5. PIN–UP Tour d’Afrique (PIN–UP 18, Spring Summer 2015)


(Note that the central sketch on the bottom half of this page is the Shake Shake building in Madison Square Park.)

Come to the 4th floor and take a look!

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