Kevin Tallon shows you how to develop a print for fabric -from the research stage through layered file to the fabric mock-up.
All-over prints are a hot fashion trend at the moment, but mastering the art of hard-to-spot and 'on-fashion' repeat patterns can be challenging. Too often graphic designers wanting to work in the fashion industry forget to carefully consider the difference between working on paper and developing prints for fabric.
The following tutorial aims to help tackle this and other key issues, which can constitute pitfalls for novice graphics for fashion designers. Unfortunately, the world of fashion works in mysterious ways, and good graphic skills are not the only thing a designer needs; understanding trends and how to translate them into cutting-edge yet wearable fashion prints is where it's at.
What fans of graphics might perceive as 'cool' in a book illustration, on a DVD or CD cover or as street graffiti, by no means translates into what they like to wear. The psychology of what is seen as wearable and what is visually attractive is highly asymmetrical and disconnected for most of us. T-shirts with chest 'art' graphics found in Magma or art gallery bookshops are not necessarily a fashion item but rather a representation of art onto fabric. On the other hand, all-over prints are very much about fashion. They represent the main feature of a garment yet are discreet enough not to overpower the garment itself and are usually designed solely to be printed onto fabric.
In a traditional fashion set-up, graphic designers are art directed by fashion designers, which come up with concepts and a key theme to a collection. The graphic designer's role is, unfortunately, most often about producing the prints and putting up with fashion divas. But as the prominence of graphics for fashion grows, the table should hopefully start to turn and give graphic designers a more prominent role. So, remember, if you're serious about graphics for fashion, look at trends and educate yourself about what fashion beyond the surface is really about.