I’m not a big fashionista but, when I ran across Christina Binkley’s article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “A Pattern Emerges,” I discovered something new in the fashion world that intrigued me. Her piece thoroughly investigates a new trend in fashion which has been going on for over five years now. This trend involves the use of patterns in a collection that act as a new form of signature for the designer, rather than boring old logos.
If you’re like me and appreciate a good piece of clothing yet hate feeling like a walking advertisement with that large “G” for Guess or those pairs of “C’s” for Chanel, then this news is promising. Even more exciting, the idea of patterns instead of logos goes beyond the high fashion and even into regular old stores anyone can and does shop at.
Binkley uses the example in her article of a designer’s success at Target. There, Missoni’s zigzag pattern was so infamous for the big time designer that when put into the inexpensive Missoni-for-Target collection in September they sold out on the first day.
This seemingly simple (and perhaps somewhat insignificant) fact for fashion is actually opening new doors for designers who haven’t got many more boundaries to push when it comes to silhouettes. Anything can be used for a pattern, beyond zig zags or stripes. Mainly, designers use photographs that they manipulate and print onto fabrics for dresses, skirts, shirts, and anything else you could imagine.
Binkley describes it best when she goes into detail about the evolution of the printmaking process for these designs:
“As recently as the early 2000s, prints required an artist to paint on screens—one screen per color—which would then imprint fabric with dye to make the print. That method creates a more three-dimensional feel, but is expensive and time-consuming, especially for designers who may produce only very small quantities of each print after incurring the expense of building those screens. Digital printmaking is much like printing a photograph on paper. Recent improvements in inkjet technology have allowed designers to create sharp edges and to use intricate color variations, as well as to base a print on almost any image.”
So, if you want to impress your friends with some knowledge of designers and fashion, go beyond just knowing what those logos stand for and check out the different patterns out there and the names that are behind them. Some of them actually have some interesting stories behind the patterns they chose and make for a great conversation piece.
Still, as pattern making takes one giant leap into the future, there are those who turn to the past in order to add even more specialty to their pieces. Dries Van Noten, for example, created a tribute collection for Orbis Wirth for Fall 2008. Wirth is known for inventing a method of putting color onto fabric without screens in the 1920s, similar to the way ink jets do today. To do this, wax imbued with dyes was put onto a cylinder, which was then rolled onto the fabric. Van Noten’s use of this technique was a success, making each handmade piece an original and reminding audiences of a forgotten method and its Swiss inventor.
Not only is it fantastic to know that those designers are no longer going to blatantly advertise themselves on every shirt and purse they produce, but it is also much more intriguing to don a dress with a print made from a photograph with a story.
About the Author: Guest Author Lisa Koski is a writer and retail professional with a passion for fashion as well as for reading and writing that began when she was in elementary school. You can read more articles by Ms. Koski on Hubpages.