The history of textile printing can be traced to 5000 BC in Egypt. The process started with the application of dyes on fabrics. With advancements in technology, “dyeing” has become archaic and the term “printing” is the norm. Then onwards, teeing off with unconventionality, while prioritizing dynamism in preferences and tastes, has always been the trend in textile designing. In this current hungry billion-dollar market, textile designers vie for space with novel innovations to capture the eye.
The art requires an astute approach towards the conventionalities of the textile printing process which encompasses the creation of preset design patterns on fabric. This involves two procedures- creation of the textile design and application of design on the fabric known as textile printing. The creation is carried out through drawing, weaving, application, painting and the current method of screen printing facilitated by numerous state-of-the-art designing software. For the sake of uniformity, textile designers classify the prints into conversational, abstract, retro, organic and geometrical patterns.
The process of textile printing follows a chronological order of pre-treatment of the fabric, creation of the printing glue, impressing the glue on the fabric with various textile printing methods, parching out the fabric and stabilizing the print. The systems used in textile printing are direct, discharge and resist. Direct printing is carried out by the application of dyes on the fabric. Discharge printing makes use of a dye and a chemical to imprint the design and Resist printing utilizes two dyes to achieve the predetermined design.
The colours and fabric may vary globally but the essential processes employed in textile printing remain uniform. They are block, roller, duplex, screen, stencil, wrap, heat-transfer, blotch, burnout, electrostatic, sublimation, airbrush, jet-spray, engraved, photo and digital printing methods. While block and roller printing have been traditional, sublimation, heat transfer and digital printing methods are in vogue owing to their pioneering style and ability to attain time & cost-effectiveness.
Textile Design Trends in Different Countries
Tartan or, plaid designing in flannels and other fabrics using numerous colours has been the way in the Americas and Western Europe, notably in the UK. Wax prints using Dutch dyes and coated resins as well as stitched embroidery, on the raffia Kuba fabric, are in fashion in Africa. The Persian influenced mirror needlework, to reflect art & beauty in cultural and social norms, is a traditional textile design in China, Afghanistan and India and some breakdown republics of the erstwhile Soviet Union.
Loom and handcrafted print designs based on flora and fauna characterize the Mexican embroidery on fabrics. Japan is famous for its traditional imagery inscriptions. Metallic craftwork or, Suzani embroidery on fabrics, with effulgent colours based on celestial objects, fruit and birds, is common in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The needle crafted Marash embroidery is exclusive to Armenia.
Novelties for Textile Designers
Consumer preference being extremely susceptible to social, economic, environmental and black swan occurrences such as the current COVID pandemic, the textile industry has been increasingly leaning towards empathetic on-trend botanical prints. The designs have to be epoch specific with an orientation towards variety, moderation, preservation and naturalness. Variety means that textile prints will focus on indulgent craftwork with clever utilization of colours.
Moderation will ensue that textile prints in 2021, during Covid-19 and following it, will lean towards gleaming but calm colours, divulging underdone and graceful humanity. The Preservation approach will aim at the sublimation of the past and the present- stringing together the way of life ideas with purchaser bits of knowledge to make significant textile designs. Naturalness, in the prints, entices every buyer.
Going forward, natural weaves, earthy tinge and natural grain with impetus on conceptual themes will stand out delightfully to lend a simple yet sophisticated vibe to the design. Textile designers, off late, have seemed to adopt articulated twirls and wefts to reflect uniqueness in whatever they imprint on the fabric- be it floral designs, caricatured models, real emblems or abstract figures.