“There is no understanding of fashion without an understanding of fabric,” according to Clara Hancox, famed fashion journalist. This quote inspired a question at our studio, are fashion trends driven by fabrics, or are fabrics the vehicle for starting trends? It’s hard to be certain, and the answer could be a combination of both.

Think about your favorite trend, then imagine what kind of textiles it would take to create that look. Body-conscious dresses that have been on-trend the last couple years requires a stretchy-spandex style fabric to achieve this look. This also leads to spandex being blended with other textiles to create new fibers.

textileIn other instances, however, it can be the fabric driving the trend. Think of the 90’s staple Velvet, which is back in full-force for Fall/ Winter 2014. This fabric can be used for many different articles of clothing (pants, tops, skirts, dress, etc.) and lend itself to many different silhouettes.

One trend that is very popular for young people right now is festival clothing, which is all about dressing comfortably to be outside and watch live-music. This look often consists of lighter textiles, such as voile or silk cutouts. It’s sometimes voluminous and usually has a unique print or distressed embroidery to give it an antique-y look. This could be a dress, made out of a bamboo or hemp canvas that will contribute to  a vintage-y feel. Even a maxi or drindle skirt in rayon or cotton with lace trim. Any of these examples would could be classified as festival clothing. These airy, lightweight fabrics play a large role, though the specific selections of these fabrics are often be determined by design trends.

It is important to note, that when designing a collection and figuring out textiles to use, what season you are designing for is a large part of that decision. This should seem obvious, but if you’re designing for summer, you would be using lighter, thinner textiles compared to picking out textiles for a winter collection.

Also, what age group and gender you are designing for comes into play too. A dress made out of expensive silk isn’t very appropriate for a child, and although spandex is a popular textile for work-out clothing for men, it has a lesser place in everyday wear for men, than it does for many women.

We hope this blog post inspires you and gives you a little insight into textiles and their impact on the design process! Keep checking our blog for more insider fashion tips and tricks!