Freshly made

This pretty tote is one of the examples of what we do at Digital Fabrics. Made last week from scratch, designed, hand painted, printed and made at Digital Fabrics.

designed, printed and made by Digital Fabrics

designed, printed and made at Digital Fabrics

Live Global, Print Local

We live in a very “international” age where it’s pretty impossible to live in any part of this country and not have access to information about a plethora of subjects and issues spanning the globe. And whether or not you pay much attention to it all or a little bit, at some stage you’re bound to come across sign posts for key factors that essentially impact Australians and their economy.

For example, perhaps up until this year you had paid little to no attention to where the clothes on your back were actually produced and then there was the absolutely devastating building collapse of the clothing factory in Bangladesh.

Perhaps this tragedy has highlighted some significant areas for consideration including what is the best production practice for Australian fashion houses. This brings us to print runs produced off shore, predominantly in China but increasingly in Korea and India, compared to printing on our own sunny shores. Should we be pushing for one over the other or is there a happy medium that can be forged with cooperation from members of the TCFA industry bodies and government?

Clearly price point is a huge factor and although the minimum wage for factory workers in these countries is well below what we would consider acceptable for ourselves, if we were to take away their source of income altogether by ceasing production completely, what does that do to their livelihood? And yet to support innovation and growth within Australia for both screen and digital printing is to continue to promote our own economic growth with an increased work force and encourage companies to stay local.

You can’t deny that China in particular has a rich history of fabric innovation being the first to cultivate and produce silk. Neither can you dismiss India and her surrounds for their impact on international printing trends and practices. But it would be great if right here in our own backyard we were given the opportunity to establish a stable and reliable fashion printing industry on a large scale.

The printing that is currently offered here in Australia has some key advantages and should be taken advantage of. Companies can deal directly with printers giving them a greater amount of control from initial strike off to full bulk runs. This in turn reduces time pressures by limiting the back and forth waiting for shipments or time zone constraints. Minimums are generally lower which means sampling can be produced with a lower risk and greater flexibility of having multiple print styles. And on an environmental note, the freight back and forth overseas is greatly reduced lowering emissions.

So keep up to date on all that international news, live globally, but support Australian industries, print local, print with Digital Fabrics!


Types of Fashion Prints – part two

Status – As an indication of wealth or opulence, uses the motifs (but not limited to) of gold chains, jewels, animal skins and ornate scroll work often all in combination and in rich vibrant colours.

Checks/Spots/Stripes – patterns of squares, circles and rectangles of varying size, colour and orientation i.e. horizontal/vertical as well as edge definition. A broken or ‘non symmetrical’ circle is still considered a spot.


Scenic/Pictorial – Traditionally called a Toile de Jouy, uses figurative scenes of an illustrative quality (now more photographic) and often with a narrative and generally in a horizontal orientation. Traditionally printed in monochromatic colour on a plain white or ivory ground.


Paisley – Stylised tear drop motif often with abstracted floral elements in accompaniment, now seen with various combinations of many types of fashion prints. Paisley takes its modern name from the Scottish town which saw a great deal of production of these patterns in the 1800’s. These motifs are now most recognisable as Indian or Middle Eastern from where its tradition is embedded.


Tribal/Ethnic – Perhaps more appropriately termed World Cultures, using motifs and elements specific to a nationality or culture with a western interpretation. Popular areas of inspiration are Africa, India and Arabia but also include the folk arts of Eastern Europe and South America. Care must be taken not to use motifs or symbols of a spiritual or special meaning to the culture being used as inspiration.



Types of Fashion Prints – part one

Fashion prints are as trend driven as colour and garment style. Fashion prints are becoming an increasingly utilised tool in a fashion designer’s tool kit.  Therefore although the following is a general run down of the various types of fashion prints, depending on the season and year, some maybe more popular than others.

Floral – associated with any plant form depicted whether it be a flower bud or tree. There are names descriptive of the scale of the floral such as Liberty or the style such as Ditsy.

Geo – Geometric prints range from colour blocking random shapes to the tessellating patterns inspired by Islamic art. Geo prints can also fall under Abstract or Graphic.


Graphic/Abstract – Abstract is used to describe unrecognisable forms and motifs, mostly because they cannot be described any other way. Graphic is descriptive of the boldness of a print. Refers to predominantly modern designs and sometimes goes hand in hand with another of the types listed here i.e. Graphic Floral.

Animal/Skin – Printed replicas of various animal skins not necessarily the full body of the animal itself i.e. leopard, snake, alligator, zebra etc.

Conversational – Recognisable images such as everyday objects and animals generally taken out of familiar context or placed in conjunction with out of context images i.e. human legs carrying houses. Often ‘cartoon’ in rendering and with a whimsical feel, also called novelty prints.

Forest For The Trees

Maria Primachenko’s Original (in part) “Rat on a Journey”

It has come to light this past week that internationally recognised Finnish home wares and textile house Marimekko, has allegedly pilfered a print design from a Unkraninian folk artist, Maria Primachenko.  Although Marimekko as a company holds the commercial license for their print designs, their freelance designers are essentially responsible for what they create. In this case long time Marimekko freelancer and daughter of an original illustrator at the brand, Kristina Isola, is the designer in question.

The only difference in the two artworks appears to be that the newer of the two is without the woodland character giving the work the title “Rat on a Journey”. Completed in 1963, Primachenko’s gouache painting is now housed in the Ukrainian Folk Decorative Art Museum in Kiev and featured in a book along a similar theme.

Isola’s version, sans rats, developed in 2007 for Marimekko now adorns the Finnair long-haul Airbus 330 in an ongoing collaboration between the carrier and design house. Although now shown in blues rather than the original greens, there is no mistake for we all can see the forest for the trees. Marimekko is rightly so in “…complete shock and profound disappointment” (sic), however the airline as yet has made no comment, nor have the changed any of the information about the design on their website.

It will be interesting to learn of any developments about this as the subject of copyright and who can use what and when is of constant concern to designers of any magnitude. Simply though it all boils down to trying to stay as true to yourself and your own creative endeavours and taking great care not only with safe guarding your own work but doing the proper research when taking inspiration.

Not to put a downer on an inspired weekend though, go get out there,  produce stuff and love it!

Kristina Isola’s version for Marimekko “Forest Dwellers” 2007

Finnair Airbus 330 with the design in question

Another Finnair aeroplane showing an iconic Marimekko design

Pretty Petals of the Chelsea Flower Show

Wes Fleming and Phillip Johnson in the Trailfinders Australian Garden
Picture: Ella Pellegrini


Pretty Petals of the Chelsea Flower Show

Could there be anything more inspiring for a floral print than attending the horticultural world’s most prestigious week every year? Celebrating the centenary of the of the Chelsea Flower Show

being held at its current location, the Chelsea Hospital  (from 1862 held in various  locations in and around London), on display are the Show Gardens, exciting new and re-emerging plants in the Great Pavilion and the Artisan Retreats to give Burke and his backyard a run for his money.

This year the Best Show Garden went to our own home grown landscapers and design team, Trailfinders Australian Garden presented by Flemings. With a billabong, a waterfall and countless native flowers and plants and with a waratah inspired studio to boot, it had an obvious Aussie spirit that bloomed out above the rest.

And it’s hard not see the connection between the Chelsea Flower Show and the floral prints that pretty up spring wardrobes (talking Northern hemisphere spring) when there is such gorgeous imagery in abundance! Take a virtual stroll along the garden paths and be inspired to wear some petals and blooms this weekend to brighten the winter drab that is threatening to soak in.

Display of lupins at the Chelsea Flower Show
Photo: Reuters

Various flower displays at the Chelsea Flower Show
Photos: Reuters

Gisela Kouker and Mariko Nakafuji seen at the Chelsea Flower Show
Photos: Michael Gray




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