Summer is a word that directly drops hints on the feeling of lightness and minimalistic appeal. When designing clothing for this season, designers as well as exporters try and create surface ornamentations and value additions which are not very heavy looking, are minimal in nature and go with the airy mood of the garments, and this is when the art of fabric manipulation comes into play. With exporters making a conscious effort to produce value-added products in line with buyers’ requirements, fabric manipulation as a technique not only adorns the garment with a fresh touch but also surfaces as something new between the series of prints, embroideries and weaving techniques. Taking a cue from the runways, the attention of exporters is slowly and steadily shifting to fabric manipulation techniques, making the fabric the real hero of the garment…
Surface ornamentation has always been India’s strength and with the global fashion scene looking for eye-catchers, product development teams are busy developing innovative techniques for that one exclusive ‘look’ that creates the wow factor. With an overdose of embroidery and printing techniques for value addition, fabric manufacturers and garment exporters have started to experiment with the fabric to create a plethora of textures using techniques which are easily available in-house to induce freshness in surface ornamentation. Witnessed on the runways of S/S ’15, designers tried and created wide varieties of amalgamated looks from fabrics which enhanced the collection’s aesthetic.
The S/S ’15 runways were filled with innovative play of surface and texture creation through mix media. Be it the unusual lace application seen at Oscar de la Renta, Phillip Lim and Rodarte or perforations and latticework presented by Alexander Wang, Altuzarra and Theory. Suede came into an out-of-character summer use at Derek Lam, Jason Wu and Karen Walker, in collaboration with techniques like embossing. Pleating, gathering, shirring, layering and shell smocking, is all set to add to the textural temperament of S/S ’16.
Familiar fabrics can be laminated, distressed, embroidered, plasticized and elasticized, to give out varied versions of the possibilities one fabric can provide. Fabric manipulation – the art of reshaping fabric using a variety of techniques – is a hot topic yet again as the 2016 Spring fashion is just around the corner. Fabric manipulation is said to be inspired by architecture as it does more than just create strong lines and visual interest. Pieces featuring fabric manipulation are great for adding texture to a room, especially when using neutral colours. Plus, they tend to evoke a modern feel. Designers like Gaurav Gupta and Amit Aggarwal are emerging as artists due to their modernistic approach to fabric treatment and manipulation. Fabric manipulation includes various techniques which create a 3-dimensional surface on the garment, and is not restricted to techniques like gathering, pleating, smocking and wrinkling of the fabric only. Heat set effects on polyesters chiffons, ruffled nylon stripes on skirts and tops, wrinkled knit long cardigans, smocked knit sweaters, trapunto garnished over collars and cuffs, double controlled ruffled pleats on skirts and undiluted tucks on blouses and shirts pinpoint the forever building approach towards creating a silhouette with futuristic and rich look.
Creativity has no boundaries, and with fabric manipulation techniques spreading its wings, simple pintucks, knife pleats and ruffles are now things of the past. With fabrics like rayon, modal blends, nylons and cotton voiles becoming popular, the art of manipulating fabric in endless possibilities is getting every exporter’s attention. To inculcate fabric manipulation in their collections, many designers are making use of techniques like shirring, ruching and gathering with elastic stitching for waistbands and all-over smocking on dresses and tops are the most basic uses of fabric manipulation. With texture continuing to be a huge trend for the upcoming Spring/Summer ’16, savvy designers are bringing on inventive ideas to tactile layers.
Gathered double edged ruffles, smocked diamonds with puff gathering, Echidna block and gathered strip are some techniques which have never been touched upon but are very easily achieved through a normal sewing machine. Working on the same techniques of minimalistic manipulation since ages, the designers and exporters tend to create something which is only a derivative of what they have already done in the past, but with consumers moving towards customization and DIY techniques, the mass market has to support the needs by creating surfaces which are new, ergonomically efficient and economical. Hand smocking can be easily mimicked through centre tucks. Beaded origami can become an interesting option for high-end markets, whereas, silky groves creation can project the feeling of waves in a press of a button.
Be it a high-waist midi silk skirt, a floor length chiffon dress, or a subtle accent on an ensemble, finely placed pleats, gathers and ribbon loops are bringing a touch of graceful fluidity and movement into garments which inferred fabric manipulation to become popular season on season.