Fabric Fanatic

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it once or twice (or a hundred times) before, but I love fabric (bordering on an obsession really....is there a support group for people who love fabric a little too much??). In all seriousness though, I’m completely inspired by color, prints and the feel of the material to the touch. But as much as I love fabric in general, I’m ultra-picky too because I truly believe that fabric choice can make or break a design. One of my fave quotes by Charles Eames (the famous furniture and architectural designer) states that, “Details are not the details. They make the design.” I think of that every time I choose a fabric or brainstorm a product’s design elements. Details are huge to me.

When I’m browsing a fabric store and find a material that I love (whether it be for the print or the feel) I almost always visualize it as a certain piece in it’s finished form. I get this idea in my head of what that fabric will become and often it turns out perfectly....but on occasion it doesn’t. Sometimes the print works, but the drape of the fabric isn’t right for the piece, sometimes the print is overwhelming for a particular design, and sometimes its a win-win all around. Because I’m such a visual person, we almost always make multiple samples of the same design in different fabrics (before cutting and manufacturing in quantity) so that I can decide if each fabric meets the expectations I have in my head for both aesthetics and comfort of any given design. And, as such, we always end up with a number of samples that don’t actually get produced for one reason or another. But they turn out to be “one-of-a-kinds” which I kind of love too.

That’s actually how this floral tank came to be. It was a racerback prototype and I decided that while I really like the print, I thought the fabric would be better suited to a different design. And it turns out we actually ended up using it for a custom order of open-back tanks for one of my retailers, and they turned out so incredibly cute...I was absolutely glad I saved the fabric and waited for the right design for it! But of course, I kept this one and have been wearing it around, paired with this gorgeous Topshop suede skirt and Free People sandals or often with jeans or denim shorts for a super casual look.

So if you were at all interested in my process, there’s a good bit of it right there. The fabric makes all the difference if you ask me. And I have designer Nino Cerruti on my side too, who said, “Only an excellent fabric can originate an excellent fashion.”...Preach on Mr. Cerruti. Anyone else agree? So what do you look for in a piece? What catches your eye when you’re shopping? Would love to hear!