Renee Magyar oregon - USA | 2018

SECTION OF DRESS: Natural Circles

A self taught Textile artist inspired by nature

About me: I have been working with fabric in one way or another since I was around 8 years old when my mom taught me to use her sewing machine. In my 20s, that exploration turned from home decor objects to wall hangings. I am self-taught though have a background in graphic design and have taken a handful of art classes over the years. I am inspired by the colours, patterns, and textures of the fabric and thread and have come to enjoy a loose and free style where the thread and raw fabric edges often play as equal a role in the composition as the fabric body. I prefer to work with found or salvaged fabric and occasional found objects as a way to reduce environmental impact. And finding pieces often fosters inspiration. Rather than beginning with an idea or mental image and finding fabric to create the image, I often begin with a piece of fabric or a set of colours and create from there. However, I do also keep a sketch book of ideas. I am most inspired by nature, especially the forests and deserts of the Pacific Northwest. One recent idea inspired by a long-distance hike on the Pacific Crest Trail is to replicate wildfire-burned trees in 3 dimensions with black silk and satin. I have also quite enjoyed making a number of costumes as well as shoulder bags. I am currently a communications professional in the conservation field in my working life.

I was thrilled to discover the Red Dress project through a dear friend in Bristol (she saw it on Facebook). It's an honor to be part of a collaborative project with creative people around the world. I look forward to hearing the stories of the other contributors.

To contact Renee for commissions, please write to:


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.

The Red Dress is one of the most power pieces of clothing I have ever seen
Angelica Colleluci, Head of Design & Productions at Ozwald Boateng
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
I can't remember when they embroidered that piece of silk (2018?) but I feel that something has changed since. 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. Last year, I sent them a drawing and asked them to “interpretate" it the way they wanted; again it came back with a lot of emotions, another beautiful story. Thank you for giving them this opportunity
Nicole Esselan, Founder of Kisany Africa (supporting artisans in DR CONGO and RWANDA)
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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