Melbourne Fashion Week

Fashion Design, Textile Design

After working in textiles as a Graphic Designer, I qualified with a diploma in Fashion Design. Designing for Melbourne Fashion Week’s upcycle fashion program, I designed a womenswear look to the theme Kinship, sourcing pre-used denim and redesigning the garments into a patchwork embroidered spring summer jacket.

Upcycling is a good opportunity for a brand to invest in sustainability, as fabrics from existing garments can easily be repurposed into new garments at an inexpensive cost. Even if these garments are one-off designer creations, which is what the process mostly suits.

Target Australia

Graphic Design, Textile Design

Back in Melbourne, I secured a role as a Graphic Textile Designer for Target Womenswear, designing textiles across womenswear clothing categories for mass fabric production.

Featured is one of my textile designs for the Dannii Minogue Petites signature range for Target Australia. The print design is based on a hummingbird motif, silkscreen printed in six colours on viscose for the spring summer collection.

Working in fashion textiles at mass production level, you must maintain creative ways to source trends, imagery, inspiration and keep up to date with fabric innovations.

OM Label in London

Fashion Design, Textile Design

Relocating to London to work in fashion and the media and to promote my design’s, I learnt, if you work in a creative industry, the best approach is to do everything yourself initially. Only collaborate with professionals who are qualified and already established in their field of expertise as a serious pursuit. 

While freelancing as a Graphic Designer for retailers Jimmy Choo and Agent Provocateur in the UK, I designed a fashion collection of digitally printed silk womenswear garments. 

The silk was sourced from a supplier in India where the textile designs were printed and the garments were made in Melbourne. I designed a collection of six pieces in Melbourne and the follow-up collection of five pieces in London.

In terms of mass production, digital printing on fabric is costly, although advantageous for boutique orders. Digital fabric printing creates a bright, highly saturated level of colour and detail on the textile.

OM Label Singlet Top in pale pink celestial print. Fashion & Textile Designer, Lisa Engelhardt (2014)

Forme

Textile Design

Experimenting with innovations in digital fashion and textile production, I had a Fine Art exhibition titled Forme at C3 Contemporary Art Space in The Abbotsford Convent. The exhibition showcased a textile design installation of digitally printed silk chiffon wall hangings and giclée prints. 

Sourcing botanical photographs as a basis for the textile designs, the images were scanned, digitised, photoshop manipulated and redesigned into textile repeats. Using a heat process called dye sublimation, the designs were printed onto a translucent polyester chiffon.

The giclée pigment prints combined original and sourced botanical photographs with ink and photoshop techniques to create abstract landscapes.

Technique wise, textile dye sublimation gives a crisp and very detailed, enhanced look, which can be slightly subdued depending on the fabric. The process uses a computer printer to transfer dye with heat onto a synthetic type base cloth.

Giclée printing uses high quality pigment inks and offers an archival alternative to Fine Art digital printing that mimics a watercolour and painterly look. 

Ke:ec

Textile Design

Retailing textile designs to local manufacturers and artisans promotes your brand as a designer and is a good opportunity for collaboration.

Importantly select the best materials and manufacturers possible to increase the benefit of producing independently and maintain a local ethos. Keep in mind careful colour selection for non seasonal collections when designing small runs and seek out unusual fabrications.

Things to consider when manufacturing locally are price and minimums and if you prefer your label to evolve on-shore or towards mass market levels of production or to on-sell. 

Featured is a collaboration of my textile design’s with industrial designer Ke:ec. Hand drawn textile design’s silkscreen printed onto a cotton drill base cloth and manufactured by Ke:ec into satchel bags. The products were retailed in a shop called Bamakko in Melbourne and online. The product was sourced, designed and made locally. 

Ke:ec Satchel in charcoal & silver. Textile Designer, Orchis Morio (2009)

SILKSCREEN

Textile Design, Textiles

As part of my Fine Art degree I studied on exchange at the Glasgow School of Art where I learnt the traditional art of silkscreen, the process of separating the colours in an image, design or pattern repeat for silkscreen printmaking onto a substrate.

A silkscreen print is created by reducing a motif in an image to black to create a stencil, painting a silkscreen with photo emulsion and exposing the stencil on the silkscreen to light to create the stencil effect. The stencil is the negative area of the image, blocking out the colour and leaving the positive area in the stencil for the colour. Pigment ink is poured through the silkscreen stencil onto a paper or fabric base cloth to create the coloured print. Repeating this process for each colour in the design. A two colour print would require two silkscreen stencils, printing the first colour, lining up the print and printing the second colour. Ideally if you retain the silkscreen’s the print can then be reprinted seasonally with a new colour palette.

The beauty of silkscreen is the soft, smooth and watercolour like effect it gives a print and how it seamlessly separates the colours so the overall ‘look’ of the print is unified.

The process of silkscreen is fairly labour intensive, especially if you compare printing a single four colour poster image to lining up a screen across many metres to silkscreen bolts of fabric, that may have up to twelve colours in a design.

I designed a collection of silkscreen prints by filming digital video excerpt’s of cityscapes in Glasgow using still image’s from the footage as a basis to design silkscreen prints. I printed the prints and the colourways using the traditional silkscreen printing method onto an archival print paper.

Silkscreen Print. Textile Designer, Lisa Engelhardt (2006)