You can’t touch fabric in the metaverse

“What is the future of textile handcrafts on the accelerating trajectory of fashion in a digital universe?” 

This question was the starting point of the made/in project to look at textile handcrafts in Germany and India and their potential for survival and growth in the future fashion world. 

What will their future be in a world where even established fashion houses engage increasingly in creating virtual collections; where the speed of new collections is forever accelerating and mainly price driven? The situation of textile handcraft seems bleak.However, there is one element that cannot easily be substituted in the metaverse: the sense of physical touch and the meaning of that for us humans as sensuous beings. Besides the merely physical nature of touching a fabric, a sense of history, belonging and identity is awakened by the tactility of the experience. Textile handcraft is a vital expression of our shared cultural heritage.

Especially after the pandemic experience, the made/in project aims to use the heightened awareness of the importance of the physical to advocate for a new appreciation for textile handcrafts. Focussing on the situation in both countries, the aim is to shine a light on the beauty, excellence and importance of the work of the human hand and how it can engage in a beneficial relationship with digital methods of working. What are the challenges designers and artisans are facing when attempting to weave these two realities together? How can we build a case for a renewed future relevance of textile handcraft – without nostalgia and sentimentality? A future that addresses urgent challenges and presents a contemporary aesthetic and innovative solutions. A future that questions the stale hierarchies between the global north and the global south, the inequality between designers and artisans.

Anjana Das and Nicole Hardt, the two creative directors have created a dynamic platform for artistic exchange, innovation and knowledge with their website and the print publication “made/in – honouring textile crafts”. The made/in project team documented seven handcraft techniques in Germany and India. The incredible wealth of knowledge and skill involved in the creation of handcrafts is presented in craft documentations with texts, images and video segments. Interviews with designers and artisans give insights how the industry professionals see their current situation and how they answer the question how textile handcraft can remain relevant as part of a more thoughtful and sustainable fashion industry. How the analogue and digital can work in tandem to create something new and hence enlarge the repertoire of craft. Craft thinkers from India and Germany contributed to the project in thought-provoking essays on various aspects of textile handcraft. The made/in platform is a practical and usable tool for designers, artisans and consumers alike. With the made/in principles for a vibrant future of handcrafts in fashion as well as the database of artisans, designers, thinkers and organizations involved in textile handcrafts the project lays a foundation for future collaborations. Visit:

Creative Directors: Anjana Das & Nicole Hardt

Photography: Cecile Bortoletti

Styling: Samuel Drira