Today, feathers are an extravagant accessory in fashion; 500 years ago, however, they were used to constitute culture, artistry, good health and even courage in battle. This unlikely material is now part of a project that promises to tell us more not only about what happened in the past, but also about how it felt to be there.
With the autumn 2014 fashion shows in full swing, all eyes are on the top designers. In 16th-century Italy, the latest looks didn't always go down well with the authorities. Historian Giulia Galastro is researching the sumptuary laws regulating the level of opulence that could be paraded in public – and how the dandies of the day neatly side-stepped the rules.
On the anniversary of the collapse of Bangladeshi garment factory Rana Plaza, in which 1,129 people died, Dr Kamal Munir says the West needs to re-think its addiction to cheap clothing – and the East its attitude to regulation.
Ben Cartwright, a member of Cambridge’s Material Culture Lab, is an archaeologist whose research focuses on the ways in which the crafts of spinning and weaving are embedded into the historic culture of the islands of the North Atlantic and remain an important part of island identity.