As a designer I love to share the creative process behind each of our prints designed here at Studio Wanderlust, promoting creativity through original design, which we call- design with a story.
When someone purchases one of our kimonos, we like them to know the story behind that particular print that they have chosen - the travel adventure that inspired us; the amazing journey that design may represent; the sources of our inspiration, the research, the theme (moodboard), the thought processes, the planning, the sketching or painting processes involved; the design process and how that particular print was created.
Here is the story of the Summer days kimono.
The Summer Days design is our signature print that portrays a love for all things botanical, tribal and vintage! Illustrated florals inspired by the nature that surrounds us here in Byron Bay, fused with elements of traditional tribal Hawaiian textiles. Contrasting elements that come together to create a tropical design with a vintage aesthetic.
Drawing the print elements
The floraInspired by the tropical flora that surrounds us, particular flower and leaf species were selected that we felt represented an Australian tropical bouquet. Focusing on references of tropical prints from the 60’s and 70’s, these flora elements were drawn in a particular style to create this vintage look. The linear and shading detail of the petals and leaves was emphasised, creating a lot of contrast with light and dark. The more contrast, the better when later colouring them in photoshop, letting the contrasts create the varying shades of colour rather than a complex colour palette.
The tribal borderResearching into the original source of vintage tropical prints, led to a focus on traditional textiles from the Pacific Islands. Here, the beauty of the kapa and tapa cloths from Hawaii and Tahiti were discovered. Circular designs and tile formations consisting of simplistic, intricate tribal patterns and flora outlines.
Using this as a source of inspiration, an interpretation of these patterns were hand drawn and then digitally formed into full elements that could be used to create the contrast border design of the Summer days print.
Planning the print placementWith all the floral, leaf and border elements complete, the next step was to plan the placement design of the print. This was done by starting with simple sketches to mock up ideas. For this collection there was also a small scale of the pattern pieces printed out that were used to sketch a draft of the placement.
The colour processThe Summer Days print represents the core colours of Studio Wanderlust, using our signature cream, coral and pencil shades; mixing these with sun bleached brights and leafy greens. The palette was formed with fabric swatches and pantones, following references of favourite images and textiles.
Using this core colour palette and the moodboard as a reference, the floral and leaf elements were then digitally coloured up in photoshop using a variety of techniques – both simple and complex. The challenge was to achieve the right balance of colour with variations in colour hues, to create the perfect vintage aesthetic.
Creating the print placementWith all the print elements coloured up and the print placement planned, the next step was the main design process, creating the actual placement print design. The back design of the kimono is always the starting point as this usually has the main feature print.
With the kimono pattern pieces as a template, the first process was to create the main bouquet positioned at the centre back of the kimono. First arranging the coral coloured silhouette, then layering the pencil flowers, then building the coloured leaf and floral elements in the centre.
The next focus for the Summer Days design was the contrast tribal border, creating a border design for the kimono back, front and sleeves in our signature coral colour. Using all the elements that were created from the pen drawings, piecing them together and layering them to create a border design that compliments the tropical florals. These same elements were then used to create the contrast neck band and tie belt.
The technical processNext was the most technical part of the design process. With the placement print designed for each piece of the kimono, the next task was to place the design exactly onto the pattern pieces, ensuring the design elements sit correctly on the body; that flowers aren’t positioned in awkward places and that the design flows and creates a silhouette that flatters the body.
Once completed all of the digital files were sent to the manufacturer for printing.
The printed fabric (strike offs)The next process is probably the most exciting part for a textile designer, seeing the designs come to life in fabric form. In the design world this is known as a print strike off. At this stage several checks had to be made to ensure that the printed fabric is correct, the colours are perfect, the quality is amazing, the detail is exactly as per the design and the size of the elements are correct.
It’s at this stage that changes can be made to ensure that the print is perfect before proceeding with printing all of the fabric for the kimonos.
The next crucial stage was to check that the design actually worked as a garment. As the kimonos are placement printed (not an all over printed fabric), the strike offs of the prints are printed as per the pattern pieces of the kimono. It was therefore possible to cut out all the pieces of the garment and pin them together on a mannequin to see how they look together.
Here we could see how the printed neckband looked next to the kimono front design; check if the main floral bouquet on the kimono back sat in the right place; ensure that the border print of the sleeve was the right depth; make sure that all of the elements were placed correctly and work together; and that the overall design looked balanced.
Once all of these checks were completed and we were completely happy with how the design was looking, the manufacturers were given the go ahead to carefully make each piece of the Summer days kimono.