One of my favorite activities is scrolling through the American Folk Art Museum quilt archives. They reveal not only the rich history of quilt makers but the breadth of designs: Pieced, patchwork, appliqué, paper pieced, English paper pieced, cathedral window, a style that developed out of the Civil War. . . the list goes on! Winona Ryder’s sleeper hit film How to Make An American Quilt even demonstrated the power of storytelling through quilts. So I’m happy to say that, today, quilts are having a resurgence in the design world, the techniques passed down but reinvigorated.
This renewed passion for the classic craft seems to have begun on the runway. In October, the American Folk Art Museum honored Calvin Klein’s former chief creative officer, Raf Simons, for putting quilts back at the forefront of people’s minds during his time at the helm of the brand. “Under his creative direction, the American quilt has become a new visual language for Calvin Klein—appearing in collections, advertising campaigns, and most recently in a design project with Cassina that debuted at Design Miami/Basel,” the press release announced.
Then there’s menswear designer Emily Adams Bode, who crafts one-of-a-kind clothing using vintage quilts sourced from around the globe (and has collaborated with AD-approved furniture design studio Green River Project LLC). She was a runner-up for last year’s CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and was just shortlisted for the 2019 LVMH Prize.
Quilting is inspiring textile designers, too. Modern-day quilt makers like Thompson Street Studio and Martha Clippinger are bringing the craft into 2019—and making our beds cozier than ever. These are the eight designers we’ve been following:
- Photo: Courtesy of Thompson Street Studio 1/8 Thompson Street Studio Founded in 2014 by Kiva Motnyk, New York–based Thompson Street Studio sells handmade, almost Art Deco–ish quilts. Our favorite is this sunset-hued one. And yes, Kiva really does live on a street named Thompson! SHOP NOW: Cactus Rose Quilt in Yellow by Thompson Street Studio, $600, thompsonstreetstudio.com
- Photo: Courtesy of Martha Clippinger 2/8 Martha Clippinger Given their price, artist Martha Clippinger’s quilts are probably better off hung on the wall than draped over you while you watch Netflix. Either way, they’ll fit right into a modern, playful home. SHOP NOW: Quilt by Martha Clippinger, $2,400, marthaclippinger.com (purchase by request)
- Photo: Courtesy of Kaufmann Mercantile 3/8 Louise Gray Yes, there are quilts for minimalists, and they’re designed by Louise Gray. Each is made by hand in Minneapolis. SHOP NOW: Queen Quilt No. 2 by Louise Gray, $670, kaufmann-mercantile.com
- Photo: Courtesy of Coming Soon/Garmentory 4/8 Cold Picnic You probably already love Cold Picnic’s rugs, but did you know Phoebe Sung and Peter Buer design quilts, too? Their blankets often depict abstract takes on natural landscapes; this blobby blue one reminds us of the clouds (and it’s pink on the other side!). SHOP NOW: Tourist Quilt by Cold Picnic, from $265, garmentory.com
- Photo: Courtesy of Etsy 5/8 B Perrino Handmade Once a photographer, Rhode Islander Barbara Perrino now hand-makes quilts she hopes check off both the form and function boxes. This moss green, icy blue, eggshell, and tangerine design gives us retro vibes. SHOP NOW: Modern Graphic Quilt in POP, from $160, etsy.com
Photo: Courtesy of Garmentory
New Delhi studio India Flag is reimagining what a quilt even is. This patchwork beauty is a) made out of recycled denim rather than your typical cotton and b) is actually meant to be a rug! SHOP NOW: Denim Patchwork Rug by India Flag, from $172