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Famous Fashion Textile Designers

Instructor: Stephanie Przybylek

Stephanie has taught studio art and art history classes to audiences of all ages. She holds a master's degree in Art History.

Do you have a favorite shirt with a bold print on it? How about a colorful scarf or skirt? In this lesson, learn about some famous fashion textile designers.

Designs Make for Colorful Fashion

Many people love to wear colorful clothing. But who designs the textures and patterns on the clothes we wear?

That job often is the work of fashion textile designers. Textile designers are artists who dream up and design the look and feel of textiles, including patterns printed on or woven into their surfaces. Textile design can be used for many types of textiles, including those used on home furnishings like carpets and curtains, linens like bedspreads and sheets, and clothing.

Just to be clear, fashion textile designers aren't the same as fashion designers, although the two roles work closely together. The latter are people who create ideas and concepts related to clothing styles. Fashion designers develop the clothing we wear. Fashion textile designers create the textiles that are used to make those clothes.

Now, let's learn more about several famous fashion textile designers.

Famous Fashion Textile Designers

Raoul Dufy

Raoul Dufy (1877-1953) was a French painter and one of the first 20th century artists to create many patterns for textiles. Around 1911, French fashion designer Paul Poiret asked Dufy to create a pattern for stationary, but the request soon resulted in Dufy designing fabrics for Poiret's clothing designs. Beginning around 1912, Dufy also began designing silk patterns for Bianchini-Ferier, a leading French silk firm. He created hundreds of patterns, including printed cotton textiles and Art Deco-influenced silks. Art Deco was a design style in the 1920s that used streamlined geometric forms to create a modern style.

Silk scarf designed by Raoul Dufy, early 20th century
Dufy silk scarf design

Dufy's patterns feature bold outlines and areas of high color contrast. In vibrant colors, he echoed the natural world, including forms like leaves and animals like horses.

Sonia Delaunay

Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979) was also a painter who shifted her focus to textile design and fashion design. Delaunay designed her own clothing and created textile patterns for commercial use in the fashion industry of the time, working with costume designers, poets, and celebrity clients. She became very popular for works that echoed Art Deco style.

Portrait of Sonia Delaunay
Sonia Delaunay portrait

Delaunay designed what she called simultaneous textile patterns, with surfaces that seem to vibrate with color. To her, the term ''simultaneous'' conveyed the effect of a color in its own right and when mixed with other colors, freed from its use in rendering recognizable objects. Eventually, Delaunay focused on textile design. After 1929, she closed her own fashion house and concentrated on designing textiles for the luxury company Metz and Co. in Amsterdam.

Delaunay's patterns are boldly geometric and filled with abstract patterns. Abstract means they resemble nothing in the real world. Covered with vivid color contrasts, her clothing and textile designs flow with the shape of the body.

Zika Ascher

Czech-born Zika Ascher (1910-1992) and his wife Lida Ascher (1910-1983) came to London in 1939. There, they established a luxury textile design company that became influential in post-war England. Ascher and his wife created their own designs. Lida did most of the drawings, often of bold and colorful floral patterns. Zika did the printing.

The Ascher company also became noted for its work with other artists, cajoling them to design patterns that were then printed on fabric. Famous artists who created patterns for Ascher include Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Henry Moore.

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