It’s been full speed ahead with Ashwood & B. Yesterday we started experimenting with some digital transfer printing and the results are looking good so far! The wonderfully helpful people at Crafty Computer Paper spent ages talking through their paper types and advising the best option to suit our needs. We bought 2 packs, one of their yellow grid and one of the red. Printing onto the paper was very easy and the print quality was just as good as anything I’ve ever had out of my printer. Once the print was dry, I cut around the image and then using the silicone paper provided ironed the print onto a T-shirt. It was a bit of a struggle getting the whole image to bond with the fabric, but we got their eventually. I’m really pleased with the result, it looks great on the light grey marl.
Next on the test pressing was one of our colour your own T-shirts. Various different types of pens were used to see how the reacted to the transfer paper, some worked better then others and we now have a list of do’s and don’ts . Poppy (complete with snapchat filter) is doing a wear test for me today and then we’ll pop them in the washing machine to see how they get on. Fingers crossed the pens we used are as permanent as they say they are!
I’ve had my head down the last few weeks. A friend and I are starting up a small T shirt brand and I’ve been concentrating on that. We’ve been bouncing ideas back and forth (well more that she’s been reining in my ideas to something workable) and getting inspired from each others enthusiasm for the project. I’ve been designing T shirts and being creative, but the hardest part has been agreeing on a name. Helen likes my surname, feeling that it sounds very english and classy (ha!) and after months of backwards and forwards, suggesting words from an assortment of different languages ranging from French to Spanish and Latin to Hawaiian, we have come full circle and are back to using my name again…
I’ll be documenting our progress with the project and showing all the new designs as they are developing. We are trying out lots of different techniques to achieve the look we want on a budget to start off small, so the whole thing will be a huge learning curve.
I was talking to someone yesterday about the digital portfolios and old school physical ones. I’ll be honest, I really don’t miss dragging one of those big black leather portfolios around with me, but I do miss having something tactile to show. I’ve been at this designing lark for so long, i used to paint prints in gouache and colour my fashion illustrations with pantone pens. I miss the slight smell of spray mount (god knows i don’t miss spray booths and slightly crunchy arms from a day of cutting out and mounting boards), mixed with pantone and new plastic insert sleeves. I even miss those annoying black paper sheets that you could never get back in if you took them all the way out.
Afterwards I had a look through some of my really old work, stuff I did in watercolour paints for Esprit Baby, how I miss all that! Then there was scribbling onto tipex sheets to get texture and oil pastels and metallic gold pens.
Maybe it’s time to step away from photoshop, get some back to basics, produce work that is great because of it’s blemishes, it’s happy accidents, not it’s perfection.
The rain is currently lashing against my studio window one minute and the sun is beaming through the next… I’m hoping this is a sign that winter is starting to lose the battle to spring. It seems a long way off into the distance until we will be back in the heady days of summer.
This little girls high summer story I designed for Uttam Kids was inspired by memories of growing up in the 70s, playing in my grandparents garden, summer holidays where we explored country lanes with little cottages covered in roses.
As I worked on the prints, a slight Clarice Cliff influence started to emerge, I went with it on the garden print as it felt right. But then where did the 70s get it’s inspiration from after all?
Also just arrived is my Peacock Story. Last summer after a lot of cajoling I managed to get a wonderful electric blue colour into my high summer Uttam Kids range. It looked fantastic and sold really well, so getting this blue story in this year was a breeze. Uttam Boutique always do well with an oriental inspired story every season, so it made sense to do one for girlswear. The brief for this story was for items that could be worn everyday, but also be dressed up for parties and weddings. For a change this range was not predominately cotton poplin, but a soft drapey viscous. My favourite piece in the story is probably the party dress, the photo doesn’t really do it justice, the mesh is electric blue, with a silver lurex shot lining, silver glitter belt and silver bead and sequin work.
Actually I guess that title is wrong. It should read “It’s amazing what printers can do these days”. Gone are the days of the 5 colour print. Digital printing onto fabrics has revolutionised the role of the print designer. Our days used to be spent trying to get a print to look as good as possible with a limited number of colours that were dictated by the cost of screens and the limitations of the factories. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a lots of that going on, especially in kidswear, but with the price of digital printing slowly coming down and the quality constantly going up, I wonder how long the old fashioned screen and roller printing factories have left. The images below are all prints produced in photoshop for Yumi and Uttam Boutique, some are more obviously digital then others.
It used to be that girlswear themes were about a year behind womenswear. That has changed over recent years and trends tend to run across all areas now. (obviously there are some trends that are not appropriate for girls) As well as coming up with Palm Springs inspired prints for Uttam Boutique, I also used the trend in my Uttam Kids range. Adding in the flamingo garden ornament to the cactuses, helped make them a bit more girly and added a lovely highlight to the sun faded brights palette. The boss hated pastels, so the only way I could get them into the range was by mixing them with brighter colours.
Some more of my SS16 prints have hit the stores. This Palm Springs inspired photographic print has arrived for Uttam Boutique.
For the print I used photos of Palm Springs architecture mixed with a variety of cactuses and a desert vistas at sunset. I added some paste filters and found a tutorial on how to give images give them that bleached out high contrast look to get the effect I wanted.
One of the things you hear a lot of as a designer is “I want the same, but different”. If something is a best seller, buyers always want to recreate the success. Yumi had a best selling tunic shape, it was used every season here’s a few examples how I had to reinvent it… without actually changing it!
One of the great things about updating your website is that you get to sort through some of your old work and find some hidden gems! I’m terrible when it comes to buying clothes that carry prints that I have designed, by the time it’s in stores I’m working on something new and that is much more exciting! One of the things I enjoyed about designing the prints for Uttam Boutique was that I’d be doing totally different things from one day to the next, one day it would be a photographic print and the next I’d have the watercolours out.
I found this print today, it’s made from antique botanical illustrations. Once I’d found a relevant piece of art I’d have to painstakingly cut and piece it all together in photoshop.