If you know your fashion, you know that patterns never go out of style. Whether it’s floral, camouflage, tartan, animal print, or anything in between, textile design is everywhere. It’s important to learn about the inspiration behind these patterns and the creative minds that transformed them into the blouse or trouser hanging in your closet today.
“I was always creative, and when I was younger I took sewing lessons,” says Sarah Stevenson, textile and clothing designer for Sarah Stevenson Design, who is also a graduate of fine arts and fashion design. “While studying clothing design, I felt like it wasn't enough to just design clothing. I wanted to put my own stamp on my pieces, so I began exploring textile design.”
Inspiration can come from anywhere. For Stevenson, her entrepreneurial vision came after studying her master’s in textile and clothing design in Milan, Italy. “It was while living in Milan that I realized all of the incredible textile techniques I was learning were not used by designers in Canada,” she says, “so I wanted to return home and apply these to my own line of clothing.”
To succeed in the business, artistic capabilities are key to the design process. “I always start by designing the artwork by hand, which I then develop into prints,” says Stevenson. “I then design the clothing and I keep the silhouettes simple to enhance the fabric.”
While textile designers provide fashion runways and store racks with unique pieces, Stevenson says one of the biggest challenges with working in the Canadian market is the lack of resources. “We don't have access to the technology other countries have in regards to fabric creation. That can be really difficult and also there aren't a lot of textile designers in Canada,” she says, adding that while there are challenges, it is also rewarding to be at the forefront of the industry.
With the small challenges come the rewards and Stevenson encourages textile and clothing design hopefuls to get involved in the industry as much as possible. “Seek out internships with designers you admire; enter into design competitions and take advantage of every opportunity.”