The print method, which dates back as far back as the 4th and 5th centuries B.C., initially started as block printing. Often referred to as relief painting, this technique used carved material and dye to imprint simple designs onto fabric.
Fast-forward to today and traditional limitations are a thing of the past. Designers are now able to use computer-controlled lasers and high-pressure jets to inject ink directly onto the fabric, producing detailed, graphical designs.
We at ROOMS wanted to give you an insight into this pioneering print era. The use of digital textiles is thriving in the industry today, so we’ve selected three designers who are at the centre of this thriving print industry.
Digital print queen, Mary Katrantzou, is widely known to have initiated the print revolution. She launched her first ready-to-wear collection, autumn/winter at London Fashion Week in 2008.
Originally studying architecture at Rhode Island School of Design, Greek born Katrantzou transferred to Central Saint Martins to complete a BA in textile design. Her computer graphic prints have become iconic in the fashion world, and she has gone on to collaborate with prestigious names such as, Topshop and Addidas.
Currently based in London, Katrantzou’s work focuses on perception and perspective, with the use of digital print to create her own distinguished world. Her garments have fluidity to them, regardless of their contrasting nature. They effortlessly combine juxtaposing prints, textures and elaborate shapes. New technologies have allowed her to explore print in ways dated methods would fail, creating a distinctive universe of digitally enhanced garments.
Peter Pilotto, the design duo of Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos, launched their first label in 2007. Pilotto was no stranger to fashion, having grown up with shop owner parents in Austria. Libyan born De Vos, however, travelled the world with his oil industry parents, before meeting Pilotto at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, in Antwerp in 2000.
Originally founded by Pilotto, the brand is sold in over 49 countries, and stocked by luxury retailers, such as Net a Porter, Liberty and Saks Fifth Avenue. The design team adds new energy to their collections; they’ve taken the concept of digital printing one step further. Combining prints with neon brights, stain-glass window effects and Perspex, as used in their Spring/summer 2015 ready-to-wear collection.
In 2004, digital fanatics, Basso and Brook, made pattern history with their designs. Their revolutionary 100% digitally printed collection saw them take home the respected Fashion Fringe Award, and earned them a place in Vogue’s annual ‘Vogue list’.
Creative pair, Bruno Basso and Christopher Brooke, both bring their own inventive elements to the table, with Basso creating the gravity styled patterns, and Brooke formulating the intricate graphics.
Brazilian born, Basso and British Brook first met in 2001, and have gone on to be one of the first UK designers to dress the first lady, Michelle Obama, while she gave a speech at the Whitehouse in 2009.
Not for the shy, or faint hearted, their prints are epically flamboyant and playful, with Tim Banks of Style.com fittingly naming them the ‘Pixar of Fashion’. They are defined by bold characteristic prints, that just keep on getting better, and louder.
With digitally enhanced clothing taking a giant leap into modern times, there is undoubtedly room for fashion graduates and textile designers to explore this exciting, technical method to take their collections on a futuristic ride. We at ROOMS are completely print-obsessed.