If you are interested in being a textile designer there are many routes that you can take. Some designers prefer to work on their own, or for a studio, developing prints to sell. They have endless ideas and can just create..create..create. Usually they have a market in mind, but it is really up to the buyer to figure out how to use the prints. Others, like myself, prefer to work directly with clients to curate the perfect line of prints. I help my clients figure out how many prints they need, where they should be used (is this print perfect for a blouse or a skirt? or both?), and what trends are appropriate for their consumer.
A great way to start this process is to visit a print studio. Print studios have a massive selection of prints to chose from(remember create, create, create) and are a great opportunity to look at many different styles and decide what is right for your customer. I usually try and purchase at least one or two main prints for the collection, those in the quilting world call these “focus fabrics.” Once you have these key prints it is easy to develop original artwork that make the collection complete.
One of my favorite studios to purchase prints from is Printfresh. They always have innovative print ideas, beautiful color palettes, and great artwork files to work from! The studio was founded in 2006 by Amy and Leo Voloshin and is located in an old bolt works factory in Philadelphia. I have been following this studio for a while and was delighted when Amy agreed to answer a few of my questions. Printfresh will be showing their line at Direction by Indigo on April 12th & 13th so be sure to stop by and say hello.
Your business has really become a leader in the print and pattern world. What challenges has this growth brought about? Is there any advice you can give to readers on preparing for growth in their businesses?
It’s been really exciting seeing the company grow over the years. Of course, as with any small business, there have been a few challenges along the way. I’d advise those who are preparing for growth in their businesses to really focus on goal setting…it makes what seem to be lofty dreams attainable through a series of easily measurable milestones.
Has it been difficult to transition from designer to boss? How do you handle being pulled in so many directions?
My role at the company has evolved as the company has grown the past few years, however, my involvement in the creative process has remained constant. Although I’m pulled in many directions, at the end of the day, my title will always remain Art Director. I love seeing our design team bring their own artistic styles to our concepts.
Are there any upcoming trends that you and your team are really excited about?
For Summer, we are really loving bold graphic stripes, mosaic inspired mark making, and quirky conversational prints. In terms of color, bright saturated shades are very important to us as we transition away from spring, and coral in a variety of shades has been a huge trend this year.
What designers/brands do you and your team follow?
Because we work with such a wide range of clients, we research all of the runways and retail. Marc Jacobs, Dries Van Noten, Prada, Cavalli, and Stella McCartney are especially influential.
What inspires you? When in a design rut, what sort of things do you do to get the ideas flowing?
I’m inspired by many different outlets – the runways get me excited about the upcoming season, while retail provides insight into the real-world wear-ability of certain trends.
While fashion magazines are always inspiring, blogs are such a timely and seemingly endless resource for of-the-moment ideas. There’s always something new happening in art and design, and there are so many amazing bloggers with a strong point of view…
Whenever we get stuck on a design, talking to other designers on the team really helps. We have such a talented team, and hearing others’ perspective ensures there are always dozens of great ideas flowing. It really infuses the project at hand with a lot of creative energy, and makes it an exciting challenge.
At Pattern Observer we strive to help you grow your textile design business through our informative articles, interviews, tutorials, workshops and our private design community, The Textile Design Lab.