April 2023

Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

The Red Dress

Voices Gloucester brought the award winning, collaborative embroidery project The Red Dress to Gloucester on Tuesday 14 March. Conceived by British artist Kirstie Macleod, the project provided an artistic platform for women around the world, many of whom are vulnerable and live in poverty, to tell their personal stories through embroidery.


The day, held at The Friendship Café, Barton Street, included Kirsty giving a presentation about the Red Dress, pieces of which have travelled the globe being continuously embroidered onto. Constructed out of 84 pieces the garment has been worked on by 343 women, and 7 men, from 46 countries. Over the 13 years the dress has taken to complete it has become a platform for self-expression and an opportunity for voices to be amplified and heard.

The Red Dress has been the inspiration for the ‘A Costume for Gloucester’ project and Voices Gloucester were thrilled with the turnout on the 14th.

‘It was lovely to see so many familiar faces, as well as meet lots of new friends.’ 


People attending were able to chat to Kirsty and see the Red Dress up close and get involved in workshops and information sessions run by the Museum of Gloucester, Gloucestershire Archives and Gloucester Cathedral. The Women’s Institute and Gloucester Scrap Store were also on hand with fabrics, sewing kits and all manner of lovely textile things.

Between now and the middle of July those taking part in the project will be working on their ideas and pieces of cloth ready for each piece to be joined together in time for Gloucester Day on Saturday 2 September.

The Gloucester dress will then be on display in the Lady Chapel, Gloucester Cathedral 16th September - 1st October 

The dress will become part of the Museum collection to help preserve this project for future generations to enjoy.

For more information visit voicesgloucester.org.uk/

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