Textiles, textiles, TEXTILES! Nothing is more thrilling than viewing original, innovative, and cutting-edge clothing samples from all over the world (except actually buying the clothes that will be made out of these textile swatches). Every interior, textile, graphic, and fashion designer was like a kid in a candy store at the L.A. Int’l Textile Show (March 28-30) and the show did not disappoint. Textile designers and manufacturers from France, Italy, Korea, Spain, Germany and other countries all came to one place (the CMC) to showcase their best and state-of-the-art textiles. No designer in their right mind would miss this event because they know – textiles can make or break you.
Every great designer knows their textiles like the back of their hand because if you don’t, you’re screwed. Why you might ask? A textile (cloth or fabric) is where clothing construction begins so it’s imperative that designers familiarize themselves with textiles to control their designs. If you don’t know a knit from a woven, a print from a jacquard, or chiffon from tulle, you should choose another profession. Can you still make it as a fashion designer without really knowing textiles? Sure . . . but you won’t last. Textiles are to a fashion designer what paint is to a painter or stone is to a sculptor. You can’t create clothes without textiles, period.
Couple a phenomenal textile with creative fashion design and you’re in the game. You need to be in the game to compete and one of a designer’s key tools to being a strong competitor is a one-of-a-kind textile.
Technology has improved the qualities of textiles tremendously and the advancements are still evolving. There was a textile from Okto F. Works that had thousands of small, white, bar-shaped sequins (not your typical shiny sequin) sewn onto a polyester and spandex mesh fabric, then had a digital print that was printed on top of the sequins. The result was a very unique take on a printed textile as the print wasn’t really on the fabric; it was on the thousands of little sequins. It was interesting and certainly something I haven’t seen before, which is exactly what designers love – something we haven’t seen before.
As far as trends go, graphic prints, shimmer or metallic finishes, and ornate embellishments almost always make an appearance. I don’t think they’ll ever really cease to be trendy because they sell, and they sell big time. The best trend in textile design is really the mixing of materials – blending fibers, sandwiching knits with wovens, etc. Sometimes creating something new isn’t about creating something new from scratch but rather creating something new from materials that already exist and simply combining or using them in a way no one else has.
The assortment of textiles was limitless. You name it, it was there – embroidery, graphic prints, sequins, beading, crochet, three-dimensionality, faux furs, lace, leather, every knit and woven imaginable and so much more. It’s the choosing and narrowing down of which textiles to buy that’s the difficult part. Remember how we designers were all like kids in a candy store? Ever try to tell a kid they can’t have a certain candy? Not a pretty picture, but a designer must always keep in mind their target market and customer in every aspect of design, even in choosing textiles.
Textile design and fashion design thrive on one another. You can’t have one without the other and the more innovative and creative each are, the better chance you have at creating collections that will rival fellow designers and sometimes even out do them. As a fashion designer, if you want to be taken seriously, last long enough to be remembered, or be the first to do or use something, KNOW YOUR TEXTILES. You’ll be sorry if you don’t.
*Special thanks to Fashion Flying (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Duksung P&T for allowing photos to be taken of their textiles.
Article Written By: Juliet Uata
*Article Photo courtesy of CMC.com