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Fabric Art, using prints in high fashion

Updated: Feb 6, 2020

Inspiration at the Art Museum

The other day I went to a stunning fashion exhibit at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC. I was really amazed to see such creative designs made from vibrant printed cottons.

One of my students mentioned this exhibit to me when I had suggested she look at the batik prints at Joann fabrics for her sewing project. She had just seen the exhibit and was really inspired.

And wow… I see why! I finally got down to Charlotte to see this exhibit and wish I had more time. It is just amazing what you can do with prints. The details in the designs were just amazing. So worth it to see, especially for aspiring fashion designers.

If you get a chance to go, I suggest that after you take it all in and just enjoy the designs and fabrics, then go back around and take photos of the details and revisit your photos often to get inspiration for your designs. I was thinking of making an inspiration board from the photos I took to keep them in my eye line for when I am having a creative block.

I have always had a hard time designing with print fabrics. What can you do with them? My designs are usually using solids or luxury basics. But this exhibit proves to me that you can think outside the box and have the fabric print direct your design. And even using cottons in evening wear, who would of thought!

There was one part of this exhibit I didn’t discover till the very end and then the museum was closing (this always happens to me!) It was the video on the back wall behind the batik fabric display. It was about the process of producing the fabric. I just loved seeing thousands of continuous yards being prepared. It amazes me of how things are produced and in such large quantity.

For a fun challenge…take a trip to the fabric store, purchase some prints and see what you can come up with!

I don’t think we designers really think about how fabrics are made. But we need to, especially to understand the whole process of fashion design.

A few years ago, I was in Raleigh NC and got a chance to take a tour of NC State where they have a rare one-of-a-kind program on manufacturing fabrics. It is so specialized that only 16 students a year get in to the program. They also have an amazing summer camp program for aspiring designers. If you can get a tour, there it would be an amazing learning opportunity!

I wish I could take my students on a field trip there! When trying to explain grain- lines to my beginner students, I find many of them have no concept of how a fabric is made. Or even what a loom is. A little bit of studying here would help it all come together!

I love that these learning exhibits are available to us. If you are in Charlotte, take a few hours and go see this exhibit. And be sure to frequently check your local museums for fashion and costume exhibits

And to learn more about fashion design and sewing...

We have online classes too!

You can find the link to them under the Online Tab on the website.

Mint Museum Randolph | Oct 7 2018 – Apr 28 2019 The Mint Museum Randolph 2730 Randolph Road, Charlotte NC 28207 704-337-2000

African-Print Fashion Now! A Story Of Taste, Globalization, And Style



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