Textile Hive


The Textile Collection of a Lifetime

Textile Hive was founded to engage and preserve the rich history, intricate techniques, and stunning visual beauty of the Andrea Aranow Textile Design and Material Design Collections. Comprised of over 50,000 textiles spanning 70 countries and two centuries, Textile Hive enables a wider conversation around textiles globally through immersive physical and digital experiences.

The Collections

The Andrea Aranow Textile Design Collection was assembled by renowned fashion designer and textile scholar Andrea Aranow. Since 1987, the 40,000 textiles comprising the Design Collection served as a vital source of inspiration for fashion and interior designers globally.

The Collector

“I've always enjoyed textiles. I am entranced by their colors and patterns, love their touch and plasticity. The stories of these fabrics make them even richer.”

Andrea Aranow

Andrea Aranow (1945-2021) created fashion and studied textiles starting in the late 1960’s, receiving a degree in cultural history from Brown University in 1967. She then went to New York City to open Dakota Transit, a custom leather and snakeskin apparel shop in the East Village. Dakota Transit’s innovative custom pieces made the shop a music scene hotspot and attracted clients such as Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix.

In 1973 Aranow left New York to live in the mountains of Peru for five years, where she began collecting pieces for her textile library of living cultures. From Peru, Aranow relocated her family to London, where the British Museum took interest in a 400-piece part of the collection she had compiled in South America. In 1983, Aranow began traveling Asia, spending years in outlying districts of China and Japan. Andrea’s full story, including her lifetime biography, can be found here.

The Project

“This project demonstrates the bright future for the Andrea Aranow Textile Design Collection as an empowering platform and cultural material both in person and online. Throughout the project we strived to seamlessly combine the physical, digital, and contextual aspects of the collection. The potential for this unique digitized archive to be used and expanded upon in an educational setting is massive, creating exciting new possibilities for learning and exploration for future generations.”

Caleb Sayan

In 2009 the collection was moved to Portland, Oregon, by Andrea’s son Caleb Sayan to digitize the contents of the Andrea Aranow Textile Design Collection so that it might be utilized by a wider audience. With the help of a talented and diverse team, the project aimed to redefine how collections of cultural material could be accessed and utilized in the digital age.

The ultimate goal for the project was to find a permanent home for the physical and digital collection with an educational institution, cultural organization, or other partnership to ensure that the collection be fully utilized, built upon, and preserved for future generations.

Each item in the collection was captured in high resolution and catalogued using an in-depth, 2,300-term custom hierarchical taxonomy describing objective information and visual characteristics of each piece. An innovative and highly visual interface was then designed and developed for the collection as a web application featuring a custom database and integrated knowledge base.

Access this innovative and growing resource through our new membership program.