This post elaborates on the fourth of ten elements of my fashion philosophy, which is if I were caught on security camera, there’d be no trouble describing me.
As a guy, I can’t find a lot of patterned fabrics that interest me. The so-called “patterns” are like pinstripes, criss-crossing darker lines on dark fabrics, squares, argyle and all that senior or law firm looking stuff. It’s horribly boring and boringly horrible. It’s not even sharp despite what all those suit makers will tell you. That’s why solids and colour combinations are important to my design, as outlined in previous elements of my fashion philosophy.
To enhance colouring in garments I will be making, I will employ some jacquard style fabrics. They look like they have prints “carved” into them. It’s kind of like debossing, which is the opposite of embossing. The pattern forms a gentle groove in the fabric. A cheaper version would be a slightly off colour print, which would carry no texture relative to debossed fabrics so not as interesting to the eye. They also don’t get the colour differences to be that subtle so I’m not too wild about those fabrics.
While both styles make the fabric a little less solid looking, and maybe a little less sharp in the overall garment, if done well, they will not degrade the sharp look enough to leave a messy look. In exchange, they adds a lot more interest. The garment will still look good from afar, but will look better up close as the details reveal themselves more. The details should not be contrasting enough to look blurry or messy from afar, or on sketchy security camera details. That would be one way I would describe to a person as to what qualifies for such tone on tone prints done well.
On the other hand, where I will employ prints, they will tend to be big and bold. You know, the kind you can tell what it is and describe it accurately from across the street, down the block, or on security camera footage. Whether it’s just big, and/or colorful to go with it, I love these prints all the same cause you just don’t see them often enough. I can actually cite such an example with my Spider-man bathrobe made from beach towels that carry ridiculously huge panel prints.
Most of the patterns out there are small and repeating that they just look messy from not too far away. They’d look worse if your vision isn’t 20/20. There’s nobody out there with that problem, is there?
Now, grant it, the patterns would have to be pretty big to not look like something else from far away. For example, I have some white skull and crossbones on black background spandex that look like polka dots from far away, flowers closer, and only skull and crossbones from about 5 yards or metres away. However, you can’t cover for every situation. They’re still reasonably recognizable from some sort of flower pattern that would describe so many fabrics from 5 yards or metres away.
Big patterns also means they’re terribly difficult to design with if you don’t hope to have jarring cuts of your images across seams. However, I’m generally content if the images are bold enough that seam line matching isn’t the first thing someone notices on the garment. They’d probably figure out it’d be impossible to match it all, anyway. As long as it’s close enough in shade and tone, or clearly separable like two pieces of fabric for different cuts on the garment, then I’m cool with it. Makes it easy to describe on security camera. 🙂