A story behind a fabric

The Vlisco archive abounds with geometrical and architectural designs that are compositionally stunning. Each one of them is a piece of handcrafted art and our designers have a deep respect for the timeless masterpieces it provides. Every fabric has its own story, just like this fascinating design with rectangular shapes. Designer Michiel Schuurman shares his idea behind this fabric.

“This pattern is the first design I created following my travels through Benin, Togo and Ghana. Benin, in particular, made a huge impression on me. Looking out of the bus window we saw Wax Hollandais designs everywhere, and I was particularly surprised to see that many men were also wearing these designs.

I decided there and then to create a special design for these men. What makes a good design for men? Such a design is naturally open to different interpretations. I felt that the pattern should look cool on a motorbike in particular because motorbikes are the most popular form of transport in Benin. Great enormous shapes that you can see from far away but which also have enough detail up close.

Once I was home I just seized any opportunity to begin working on it. Luckily our creative director, Roger, came up with this distinct geometric briefing and I saw my chance.

The ZIGZAG shapes from Vlisco's rich history were my starting point. I blended them with a simple checkerboard pattern and overlaid this with a quiet design to give a trompe l’oeil depth.

It became apparent during the blocking process just how many different options I had with this design. In one design the pattern is clearly visible while in another it has become almost unrecognisable. For inspiration I mainly looked at the painting BROADWAY BOOGIE WOOGIE or VICTORY BOOGIE WOOGIE by Piet Mondriaan.

In this 'painting' (it actually consists of pieces of coloured sellotape), with a bit of imagination, you can see New York's thriving energy, a superb parallel with the idea of seeing my wax block design tearing around the streets of Benin at 100 kilometres per hour."

Feel like having this piece of art in your hands? Shop it in our Online Shop here. See below for more images of Michiel's trip in West-Africa.

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