Some people collect art, and some collect shoes. Rob Gordon in Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity collected records, and organized them autobiographically, based on when each record had an impact on his life.
Many people have a collection of books that they have kept around throughout their lives. A woman in my neighborhood collects butterflies.
Collections grow and shrink throughout the years, relocate with its owner, but for the most part are there, as one of the few things in a person’s life in that stays constant in their constantly changing lives.
I collect fabric. Before you picture a huge space full of yards and yards of fabric, I should clarify that I only collect swatches, little pieces of fabric labeled with basic information like the mill, reference number, content, width and weight. Swatches are organized alphabetically by mill name.
In one part of the fabric library I keep fabrics that don’t change much over time - cotton canvas, twills and poplins; silk charmeuse and crepe de chine; jerseys, ribs and terry. There’s some good leather there too.
The seasonal part of the library is where the fun stuff is filed - jacquards, tweeds, yarn dyes, French lace, luxury wools and cashmere, technical fabrics and anything new and cool. These fabrics are from my my favorite mills’ latest collections.
I justify the space the fabric library takes by saying I need it for my job. But I just love fabric.
My fabric library is like a security blanket. I think I would actually feel insecure without it, like something is missing. The only thing that might replace it is a real blanket, made from the softest wool in the world, 100% Vicuña. That fabric can be found in the seasonal section, under “L” for Loro Piana.