I talk a lot about fabric as that is where my passion lies. But I realize that my readers are industry professionals who want to be exposed to all sorts of resources. You’re not just looking for textiles, right? You’re looking for everything that pertains to the fashion and interior industries. See, I know. So this post is going to be dedicated to a very cool company that I was introduced to recently. A button company. Dill Buttons, to be exact. If you’re on the apparel end of things, this is quite a necessary resource. I emailed the company hoping to get some info on what they offer and I was not disappointed. Within a few days I had four shiny catalogs in my hands displaying an eclectic and fashion forward selection of buttons. My fave? The collection made to look like it was made from coconut shell. While it would be really cool if they actually were made of coconut shell, how would they be washable, dry-cleanable, and durable? They wouldn’t, so it was smart of Dill to create them out of wood or polyamide. They are beautifully made, come in a large variety of colors, and are available in a square, circle, or paisley shape. But don’t get me wrong, this style just happens to be what I am attracted to. If they’re not your bag, don’t worry. You can find anything from pretty pearl-like buttons and buttons of very classy design to those in the shape of a pencil or a ladybug! Fun, right? If you’re in the sourcing stage of your business or just looking to make a change in suppliers, I would check them out. You have nothing to lose and just might discover exactly what you didn’t know you always needed!
No minimums. Magic words. Also practically impossible to find in the fashion world. At least it is when it comes to custom printed textiles. As a small to midsized business in the design industry it’s often difficult (or should I say impossible) to meet that 1000yd yard minimum that so many mills require. You’ve got your heart set on a pattern but where are you going to have 5 yards for samples produced, right? Fabrics On Demand seems like a good option.
I was stumbling along on Twitter, connecting with all sorts of new industry folks and there they were- a designer’s dream come true. I think the idea is great; market not only to the home sewer but also these fresh young design labels that need flexibility in the early stages of business. The process seems pretty easy. Go to their web site, upload your design, choose a fabric quality (they currently offer cottons , linen, poly, lycra, fleece), choose your layout, place your order. Plus, a seven day turn around. Not bad.
The whole idea has sparked my interest and I am thinking about ways to utilize this convenient service in my own endeavors. Now, if they would only offer organic fabrics…
Leather. It’s a controversial subject, I know. I happen to love it. From fantastic motorcycle jackets and the softest hobo bags to beautifully bound journals and sleek sofas, leather shows up in all aspects of our lives. Well, my life at least. I understand the objection, for the most part, and while I respect it, I simply do not see myself giving up leather any time soon. Like I said, I love it. So much so that I plan to incorporate it into my future creative endeavors. However, I can and will do this responsibly. Enter Pergamena, an “ethical and environmentally sound” leather business. They use hides from animals that have either died naturally or been raised for food and have come from local farms. Everything is vegetable-tanned, an environmentally conscious process, and as much as possible, they use natural and biodegradable dyes or pigments. I stumbled across this company on LinkedIn, a social media platform that I find quite useful, and it was like a dream come true. I took a little time to check out their website, learned they are based in New York state, which is awesome, and happily ordered a free leather sample color card. I cannot wait to receive the card and start making some design decisions. Between Noon Studio’s Natural Dye House, Organic Cotton Plus , and Pergamna leather, it looks like I can finally move forward in an environmentally responsible design direction. Sweet!
Know of other environmentally friendly textile businesses? Let us know, we’d love to hear about them!
I know I talk a lot about Textile Shows. But I think they’re really important and I love to share them with you as I hear about them. So, in case you haven’t guessed, I’ve heard about another one. Two, actually. The first one is a bit different, I promise. It’s Home Textiles Fabric Sourcing and it’s “the only event in North America focused solely on sourcing for fabrics and materials intended for home applications.” I tend to focus on the apparel end of things so I’m interested in changing it up a bit and checking out this show. Although, I’m not going to lie, I will still get my fashion fix as the show is sharing a date and location with TexWorld USA. Both shows are taking place at the Javitz Center here in Manhattan on July 13th, 14th, and 15th. The vendors are made up of everything from manufacturers and jobbers to converters and designers and are showing (among other things) cotton, denim, embroidery, lace, prints, silks, and wool. Plus, you’ll also see notions and trimmings, so there should be a lot to see and it sounds like it will be well worth the trip. If you make it to the show, be sure to share your findings!
Has anyone heard of Cyanotype Fabrics? I hadn’t. Until about 10 minutes ago. The cyanotype photographic printing process used by photographers and architects to create blueprints is applied to fabrics like silk and cotton to create that cyan blue ground and white print that is so familiar to us all. Apparently known as “sun fabrics”, they can be purchased pre-treated by the yard and, while always blue, harbor endless possibilities in terms of design. I imagine fashion and home furnishing designers alike utilizing the concept to create maybe not an entire collection, but definitely a signature piece or two. I like the look. It’s clean, rich, bold, and tends to add an artistic flair to anything from a garment or scarf to an upholstered chair or curtains.
As I mentioned, you can buy the fabrics pre-treated which makes the design process a lot less time consuming. I found Blueprints on Fabric, a company in Washington with an ecommerce sight for those of us in other parts of the world. According to their website all products are pre-washed, hand treated and sealed in u.v. protective bags, ready for printing. They include full instructions and are happy to work with you on custom treating. I may be a bit behind as this process on fabrics is not a new thing by any means, but that’s okay. I have in fact discovered it and, as a creative business owner, am looking forward to the possibility of implementing it into my own work. How about you?
I love textile trade shows. Walking from booth to booth, collecting information on new design techniques and innovative technology, being exposed to various companies that I would not have known about otherwise, getting inspired by other’s creativity, all of this adds up to my idea of a really good time. As I mentioned in To Market, To Market!, there are several textile shows coming to New York in the spring and summer of this year. However, I just heard about another one and it sounds like a really good one. SpinExpo. It is knit industry specific with 15 years under its belt in Shanghai. This is year two in New York and word has it there’s a lot to be offered.
Held at the Metropolitan Pavilion in the garment district on July 19th, 20th, and 21st, the event will highlight “a very focused and unique exhibition featuring the most comprehensive and creative international offering of yarns and fibers, knitwear manufacturers and innovative knitwear machinery manufacturers.” While this is focused on the knitting industry I strongly believe that anyone in the textile and fashion industry can benefit from attending. I’ve already registered (it’s free to industry professionals!) and cannot wait until they post the list of seminars they are offering. If I haven’t convinced you to attend yet, take a look at the website. It’s beautiful and inspiring and makes me wish the show was this week rather than a few months down the road. That’s ok though, I can wait. The anticipation will make it that much better!
While joining in the conversation on twitter, I had the pleasure of interacting with one of the most innovative textile designers I have come across in a while, Lynne Bruning. While she currently uses her textiles to create her own fashions, she is kicking around the idea of making her textile designs available to other industry professionals, which is one of the reasons I thought I would introduce you to her work. Have an idea for a project? Go ahead, email her. I bet she’d love to hear what you have in mind and maybe, if you’re lucky, she’ll be interested in collaborating.
1. How did you get introduced to textiles?
I remember when I was four years, old sitting on my grandmother’s lap in front of the sewing machine. She worked the machine pedal while expertly guiding my fingers as we sewed a quilt for my dolls crib. I still have this very important and sentimental piece of art in my personal collection.
2.What fibers to you tend to use most often?
Although I like to experiment with untraditional materials such as survory’s string and electronics, I tend to use natural fibers of silk, wool and cotton as my base.
3. I know you are a weaver but do you ever experiment with knits or prints?
I love prints and tend to cut them on the bias such as this piece:
I am only just beginning to experiment in creating knits and am looking forward to what I can make on the home version knitting machines.
4. What kind of looms do you work on?
I decide what I want to create and then pick my loom accordingly. I currently have an 8 shaft Louet countermarch loom and 4 shaft LeCleric jack loom.
5. As best as possible, describe your creative process.
I do lots of research and keep folders of ideas and inspirations. I generally do not ‘know’ the final project, but let it evolve through my research and encounters as I draft, sew, weave, design and product test. Sometimes a project starts because of a personal interaction – “Bats Have Feelings Too!” evolved from a conversation I had with a little girl at Denver’s Anchor School for the Blind. While my latest #nextbigproject, a garment for an autistic child, came about due to following a Twitter thread.
6. Your work is so unique. What kind of outlets do you use to sell your work to the public
This is my biggest challenge! I have been trying to break into the stage and rockstar arena but have not made the right connections. Perhaps your readers have some ideas, leads to share?
7. What is the most memorable and exciting project or piece you have created? Why?
I tend to fall in love with my hardest projects. The challenges of learning a new technique, sourcing new materials and watching the piece come together the very first time is addicitvely enchanting.
HippiePunk Love was my first eTextile project using conductive thread and LEDs I opened new doors into the exciting world of interactive design and adaptive technology.
DayGlo Weavewas the very first time I wove cloth yardage to make a dress, the first time I wove with surveyors string and my first international wearable art show! To this day this is still my favorite dress.
8. What direction do you see your work heading in the near and not-so-near future?
Deep down I am someone that believes in helping others and making the world a better place. I do this by teaching and by creating items that are not only beautiful, but also functional. I am extremely fortunate that I can fuse my educational background in neuroscience and architecture with my knowledge of textiles and fashion to create adaptive technology projects such as “Bats Have Feelings Too!: a wearable cane” and the soon to be released project “The Familiar: a whispering cloak” On the flipside – I also enjoy creating outrageous, flamboyant wearable art and egowear for stage and the ‘rockstar’ lifestyle.
Thanks Lynne for a great interview!
Eco-Textiles are becoming more and more prevalent in apparel and interior fabric manufacturing. From retail giants like H&M creating their Garden Collection made of organic cotton, Tencel, and recycled polyester to IKEA’s launch of organic mattresses, companies everywhere seem to be embracing what was once considered a fleeting trend. I don’t know about you but I think this is a pretty great thing. As I mentioned in my post Going Au Naturale, I too am working on incorporating organic fabric into my design work. With that said, making this kind of major overhaul in a business requires being up to date on all the guidelines and regulations that are necessary to be considered “certified”. This can be quite a daunting task so I have to say how nice it was to learn that EcoTextile News, in conjunction with Messe Frankfurt has launched a new and updated version of The EcoTextile Labeling Guide this month. According to the website, this 100 page handbook “informs readers on the latest voluntary and obligatory organic textile standards and certification along with eco-textile labeling and the options available for sourcing textiles in a socially responsible manner.” With coverage including textile certification, accreditation companies, organic textile standards, eco-textile labels, and regional labels and legislation, I’m thinking this is probably a pretty important resource for any company making the switch or starting out in the organic fabric sector. You can easily get your copy of the guide online and it runs for about £20, which is what, like 30 bucks, right? Not that you asked, but I think it’s worth the investment and I may just make this my next business expense.
Even as someone who lives and works in New York City, I sometimes find it completely overwhelming to weave my way through the streets that make up the garment district. Recently I was asked to source a fabric for a fashion designer I sometimes work with and the thought of trudging from storefront to storefront, making calls to every supplier on my contact list inquiring about their stock, and emailing industry colleagues asking for leads were not things I was looking forward to. So you can imagine my excitement when I learned about The Fashion Center’s Resource Database. While the directory covers all kinds of fashion related topics like a retail store guide to a list of industry events and fashion attractions, it is the Textile/Fabric Resource section that really gets my heart a flutter! I am able to specify whether I want to see “For The Trade Only” or “Open To The Public” and type in key terms when performing my search. Once the list appears I learn everything from the store’s inventory and minimums to contact info and hours of operation. For someone who likes to think she is on ball when it comes to the internet world, it’s amazing to me that I am just now learning about this fantastic little “virtual kiosk”.