Designing Traditions highlights new work by RISD students studying Asian textiles and clothing in the Museum’s collections. Innovative handmade, woven, and knit textile designs by this newest generation of designers offer testimony to the creativity sparked by even the smallest details of traditional craftsmanship, and speak to a long tradition of the creative use of the RISD Museum’s collections.

Some of the first gifts to the RISD Museum were Asian textiles. These objects, prized from the outset as a design resource for students, were first made accessible in 1907 in a textile study room created by Mrs. Eliza Radeke (president of RISD, 1913–1918; president of the Board of Trustees, 1918–1931). Originating with Mrs. Radeke’s gifts and expanded by Lucy Truman Aldrich’s gifts of more than 700 objects, the Asian costume and textile collection has grown steadily, today providing a wealth of material for teaching and exhibition purposes.

RISD Museum is supported by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and with the generous partnership of the Rhode Island School of Design, its Board of Trustees, and Museum Governors.