DESIGNERS. In other posts on this blog, I observed that continuing advances in digital fabric printing might open up new opportunities for designers. This could be especially true as older fabric designers who relied on screen-printing retire and as customer expectations for fast turnaround continue to intensify.
Since then, I’ve been taking note of articles that show how and why fashion designers have started using digitally printed textiles. Here are just three examples:
An article by Christina Binkley in the Wall Street Journal called attention to dresses and tops in the Helmut Lang collection that use photographs shot by the brand’s designers, Nicole and Michael Colovos. Some of the images were shot with an iPhone. She says the designers uses make collages from photos they’ve shot of peeling paint, subways walls, and other sights. Thus, the resulting collages may look nothing like the individual photos.
She cites another example in which designer Albert Kriemler made a dress fabric from part of a painting by the late artist Ian Hamilton Finlay.
Binkley notes that some designers still prefer the deep, clear hues of screen prints because digital inks don’t soak into the fabric as thoroughly. Plus digitally creating and printing designs require technicians who understand software and “have a great hand with the computer.”
But she also gives an example of how digital technology enabled a designer to get a fast-turnaround job for an awards-show dress that he might otherwise have lost.
This article by Glynis Traill-Nash notes that digital fabric printing has become accessible to more designers. She says designers either use photographs manipulated to abstraction or create uniquely designed panels that can be sewn together to create an overall graphic effect.
In this article, Christina Binkley notes how precisely digital photos can be reproduced on textiles by showcasing a dress on which designer Albert Kriemler reproduced a photograph by Jurgen Schreiter of the Wedding Tower in Darmstadt, Germany. She calls the effect “mesmerizing,” but notes that one of the risks of wearing a photographic-print dress is that it may be too memorable to wear frequently.