Lekazia Turner, embroiderer from Jamaica, 2022


IRAN / 2023
SECTION OF DRESS: Woman. Life. Freedom

A ‘woman without a voice” stands in solidarity with her country.

Written by Kirstie:

This powerful panel was created by a woman from Iran 🇮🇷, now seeking asylum in the UK. The artist calls herself a "woman without voice".

A qualified architect educated in Iran and France, the artist was born in Iran but left after the Islamic revolution. She has travelled widely and spent many years in Nepal. Alongside her career and love of all arts, she has been involved with many charities and projects that help to improve the lives of women and children.

In her last trip to the UK in 2018 to visit family, the artist experienced some problems and was denied access to return to Nepal or Iran. She was told her only choice moving forward was to claim asylum in the UK.

The artist and I met towards the end of last year, and we chatted for a long while about different aspects of the project. She noticed that Iran wasn’t represented on the Red Dress and asked if she could embroider a panel.

We managed to find a window in the garment’s schedule and the artist created a powerful embroidery. The panel itself tells the story of the uprising; beginning with the women, then the young men, followed by the revolution. The artist has used rich red, yellow and orange colours for the words ‘Woman Life Freedom’ which are adorned with small flowers - to convey warmth, beauty and positivity. Surrounding the words are strong motifs of the revolution created in the white, green and red of the Iranian flag.

The artist recently shared that she had been feeling guilt these past few months that she wasn’t in Iran, standing with her country asking for freedom and democracy. However, since the day she began her commission she has felt that she was with the people. The act of stitching and sharing their collective story had bought her a sense of connection and purpose.

“In 2018 I came to England, and I was forced to stay here. I thank you that you gave me this opportunity”.

Contact: Please connect with Kirstie at reddressembroidery@gmail.com to put you in touch directly.


A huge thank you to all who have given their time, energy, enthusiasm, advice, experience and financial support to the Red Dress project over the years.

In addition to the institutions below, funding has been gratefully received from a number of private donations and 441 individuals around the world via 2 Crowdfunding campaigns in 2020 and 2022.

Nothing expresses more eloquently the feelings I suspect we share about the importance of embroidery in our lives, and the support we derive from the friendships made through stitch, than Kirstie Macleod’s Red Dress.
Caroline Zoob, Editor of Stitchers Journal 2022
This beautiful object highlights the common ground between individuals, bringing together different identities and uniting people, we are honoured to contribute to it.
Tiny Kox, PACE President at the Council of Europe, Strasbourg 2023
The Red Dress has become an icon of the international textile world.
Suzanne Smith, Textile Society 2022
The Red Dress in its final incarnation, a magnificent, regal robe, symbolises the empowerment of women through the creation of something beautiful, something which began with bowed heads and tired fingers but also with faith and joy, an openness and willingness to be a part of something which they could not see at that time but in which they could believe had meaning and worth connecting with other women around the world.
Lady Alison Myners, Chair of the Royal Academy Trust 2020
The Red Dress is in some respects similar to Mail Art, the populist artistic movement centred on sending small scale works through the postal service. It initially developed out of the Fluxus movement in the 1950s and 60s – but on a larger scale – the journey of the work is part of its identity, process, and in fact function. A signifier of the temporal and physical nature of the process inherent in the creation of the piece. The surface of the dress layered with embroidery slowly transforming into a specific topographical map – completely particular to the work’s journey – and reflective of the burgeoning sculptural landscape of the object.
Paul Black, Artlyst 2015
It’s her (Kirstie’s) red silk Dupion bodice and voluminous skirt created for the Red Dress that fully demonstrates her commitment to embroidery and the immense respect for the international community of makers.
Denna Jones. Embroidery Magazine 2010
...the fact that they could embroider what they wanted and that it is appreciated has given them some strength, some confidence that I didn’t feel so strongly before they created the embroideries.
Nicole Esselan, Founder of Kisany Africa, supporting artisans in DR CONGO and RWANDA who created embroidery on the Red Dress in 2018
This is both an extraordinary work of collective art and profound and eloquent social commentary. It is also an example of how potent the Attire language is capable of becoming.
Attires Mind (Fashion Blogger) 2020
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