We talk to Mel and Emma of The People’s Print, just after running their new workshop as part of Makerversity’s program for LDF. Champions of the application for digital textile printing. They tell us about the Memphis movement, consumer engagement with the products they own and why local production is so important.
So, why the Memphis print?
We wanted to engage people with the iconic Italian design group Memphis of the 1980’s and celebrate their work. It seemed right for London Design Festival to be inspired by their kitsch and futuristic patterns, colours and shapes which were applied to product, furniture, fabrics and objects. We focused on the work of one of our favourite designers, Nathalie du Pasquier, whose textiles designs have had a recent revival and still seem so contemporary.
What processes were adopted for the workshop?
The People’s Print always combine hand and digital methods. We like to make design playful and fun, giving people the confidence to create beautiful print identities that they are proud of. For the Pomo bag we used the new big heat press at Makerversity and collaborated with Digetex, the large digital print bureau, who provided us with lots of Memphis-inspired pattern papers to cut, arrange and sublimation print onto our Eco bags made from 100% recycled plastic bottles! Stuart and Scott (MV Technicians) CNC cut wooden geo shapes for participants to use as stencils to create their very own designs.
What advantages do these processes have?
We used sublimation printing onto eco bags and the results are stunning. What’s great about sublimation printing is that it is direct printing. So you can see the print immediately, its very magical and instant. The prints are durable and colourfast with washing but will only work on polyesters. It suits our playful approach and great product production for a workshop.
Do you think that by being able to personalise your own garments solidifies a relationship with them and their worth? Do you think this help solve the throw away culture so many are used to?
Yes, The People’s Print creates inspiring methods to give people the confidence to create their own prints. We feel consumer-centred design processes engage people more with their own products which they will love and cherish more. This counters the negative effects of mass consumerism, fast fashion and globalized fashion monocultures by investing in people’s creativity and giving them the vision, tools and inspiration to create beautiful, bespoke products for themselves that they will love and wear.
Are you excited to see where printed technologies could can go? Do you know of anything on the horizon that could be a game changer when it comes to printing your own patterns?
The beauty of digital printing is that it offers print on demand, small print runs and bespoke printing which is becoming more and more accessible. It is more environmentally friendly than traditional printing consuming less waste, water and electricity. There are already quite a number of digital print bureaus in the UK meaning you can use local production thereby reducing carbon footprint. It is a growing industry serving the amateur, entrepreneur or pioneering companies that offer online design and print systems. It’s a very exciting time for textile design.
Finally, who’s work do admire the most at Makerversity?
We love Knyttan (newly named UNMADE) as they echo The People’s Print philosophy to engage people within the design process and allowing anyone to become their own fashion designer through the potential of technology.
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