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UAL Research Online

Pixel Couture, Textile Collection

Bowles, Melanie (2005) Pixel Couture, Textile Collection. [Show/Exhibition]

Type of Research: Show/Exhibition
Creators: Bowles, Melanie

This research investigates the digital print method of sublimation printing textiles using disperse dyes and low-tech desk-top printers. Sublimation printing has been widely used by the promotion industry for its rapid prototyping and commercial viability and is an immediate design to print process. This research looks at the potential for this method of digital print to be set up for small-scale production allowing the designer to be in full control of production and sampling.

The research focuses on practical experiments across two main areas:

1. Technical - The research tested this digital print process observing the range and vibrancy of colour and the level of detail in comparison to traditional print methods. The research involved testing over 50 different polyesters to see the quality of print, and identify which fabrics are appropriate for a high-end fashion outcome. The work was sponsored by Lyson (www.lyson.com), who were interested in the creative application of their product.

2. Aesthetic - The traditional sublimation printed product can be crude with an unsophisticated design for the low-end market. Here the research investigated and developed this print process alongside innovative digital design work to create a collection of printed fabrics aimed towards the high-end market for fashion, thus creating a new aesthetic for textile design and digital print.

The outcome of the research was a sample collection which was represented by Amanda Kelly International, and shown at the creative textile fair Indigo, Paris, and viewed by fashion houses such as Donna Karen, Calvin Klein and Emanuel Ungaro. Six out of eight designs were sold and put into production. It subsequently went on to be shown in New York and Japan. Consultancy work has since been completed, setting up of similar small scale print production facilities for design houses such as Amanda Kelly and Westcott Designs, London.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

Current Research

The development of digital textile printing has challenged textile designers and artists to rethink the possibilities of printing textiles. Over the last three years I have taken up this challenge exploring digital textile printing. This interest was born out of my freelance practice as a textile designer using CAD as my main design tool and Senior Lecturer in Digital Textiles at Chelsea College of Art and Design.

My research project Pixel Couture has taken this research further by allowing me to investigate reactive dyes through an Epson 3000 printer. Reactive dyes will print onto a natural fabric such as silk or cotton instead of manmade fiber polyester. The main element of this type of digital printing that interests me is that printing with reactive dyes allows me to combine traditional printing methods such as devore, resist, discharge printing and silk screening. Joining these traditional print applications with digital print opens new opportunities for a textile designer to work.
I am currently developing and experimenting with these techniques to produce a series of samples, which could be developed into further textiles collections. Because the reactive dyes are able to print onto silks, cottons and velvets as opposed to polyesters I hope to create a collection of luxurious fabrics.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Chelsea College of Arts
Date: 20 February 2005
Related Websites: http://www.chelsea.arts.ac.uk/17205.htm
Related Websites:
Event Location: Premier Vision, Parc des Exposition, Paris
Locations / Venues:
LocationFrom DateTo Date
'Indigo', Paris2005
'Directions', New York.2005
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2009 23:35
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2010 10:04
Item ID: 1478
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1478

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