Fabric is all around us, all day, every day. It covers us, shelters us, and comforts us. But textiles aren’t just things we use, they’re also important cultural items. When the Portuguese first discovered maritime routes in the 15th and 16th centuries, they brought with them a newfound fascination for exotic textiles. That fascination persists today.
Printed fabrics showcase designs from the imaginations of artists we’ve never met. In a way, textiles act as our first contact with other people, their experiences and their cultures, and it allows us to have an emblem that can transport us to that very place, inspiring and connecting us all at once.
The textile design industry is an incredible world filled with beautiful hues, patterns and prints. Creating designs that appear on fabric might sound like a simple task, but in actuality, it’s a complex marriage of artistic skill, fabric knowledge and modern technology.
From Paper to Print
Inspiration for textile designs can come from an infinite number of sources: paintings, landscapes, colors, textures, shapes and patterns. It can be natural or manmade, tangible or abstract, and most often, it can come from some of the most unexpected places. Our original prints have mirrored rice terraces, drying incense, tropical fruits, mythical dragons and so much more. But before we get too excited and dive into print designing, we must first consider the cloth.
Across Metiseko collections, our original prints can be found on our two favorite fabrics: mulberry silk and organic cotton. Knowing what types of prints will work on which fabric is a crucial part of the design process. Silk crepe, for example, has a plain weave pattern and a matte finish with a distinct grainy texture. In contrast, cotton poplin has very fine horizontal ribs that create a lustrous surface.
Beyond fabrics, we must also keep in mind printing techniques. For organic cotton, we utilize mechanized screen printing which can accommodate a large number of colors. Our mulberry silk fabrics, however, are screen printed manually which restricts the number of colors we can use in print designs. A limited palette means we have to play with shapes and add small details to compensate for the color handicap.
So with careful attention to fabric type and printing technique, we begin our textile design process. We first choose a theme to set the mood of the collection. Then, we lay down our ideas as simple drawings. We repeat the sketch so it becomes a pattern. And once we’re satisfied with what we see, we move our drawings onto the computer using digital software.
We review color palettes and select the final complementing or contrasting shades. We play with scale and see how the pattern looks when resized. We remove elements and clean up the lines. We refine the print again and again, until we’re happy with what we see.
The design of choice is then shared with our printing partner, who creates fabric samples. We inspect the printed cloth, checking the colors and the scale before we commit to a large order. If adjustments are needed, we make the modifications. Once the design is finalized, we give our printing partner the go ahead to complete the order.
When the bolts of printed cloth arrive at our atelier in Hoi An, the textile design process is complete, and our in-house tailors take over from there.
DIY Metiseko Prints
The core foundation of Metiseko lies in our unique textile designs. We draw from inspiring Vietnamese landscapes and folk traditions to create original fabric designs that capture the essence of this enchanting country.
Download these four prints, and try your hand at choosing colors in textile design. What colors speak to you? Would you go with complementing shades or contrasting ones? What colors enhance the print story? Put your own spin on Metiseko prints with the colors of your choice and make it all your own.
There are millions of textile designs out there, but the best ones come from the heart. Each one of our prints is imbued with our story, our experience and our journey. From bright to subtle. From dreamy to frenetic. Immerse yourself in a world of prints that are uniquely Metiseko.