In the 1930’s the popular Tarzan movie created demand for leopard print fashions. Leopard print remains a staple in most fashion wardrobes today. Originally, real leopard skins were used by royalty as a sign of wealth and importance. It was even thought that the animal skins imparted the powers of the animal to the wearer. Throughout the years, because of laws prohibiting use of endangered animal skins, animal print designs have become the norm. But how are the prints created?
Printing applies pigment and dyes to textiles. The earliest form of fabric printing was probably hand painting, followed by wood block printing. Early Egyptian and pre-Columbian fabric antiquities illustrate the use of print. Even though hand painting and block printing are still used, they are time consuming and expensive, making it expensive to the masses. Next came cylinder printing, used as early as the 18th century. Screen printing (currently still used to make T-shirts) followed. Heat press and dye sublimation use sheets that transfer patterns on to fabric. New technology allows digital printing with inkjet technology that penetrates the fabric, making the design virtually permanent and less expensive to execute.
Most designers categorize prints into five groups including floral, geometric, graphic abstract, animal, and novelty such as cartoons or cars. Print designs are subject to trends just as color and style are. As we move into summer, look for print trends to liven up your wardrobe.
Nancy Pride owns Morgan Fitzgerald’s and Merle Norman located at 3800 S. Texas Avenue, one mile north of University Drive. 979 268 0608 www.fitzyou.com