When you design a new silk you must always keep in mind a few things. First, how will it repeat over your products. For example, given the confined space of a bow tie, how many times will your customers see the design played out. Enough that they will realise you have designed it specifically for a bow tie? Will the smallest and finest parts of your design be seen on the silk? How will the silk look in a tie? A cumerbund? A lapel flower????
Today I added this little silk flower lapel button to the website and as I did so I saw the silk up very close. You can see the construction of the design and the mechanics of how it was realised by zooming in on the silk to it's maximum focus. In this particular case, the silk, which off the top of my head was from our 2012 collection, has been woven on a black warp with three colours of threads used to make the design. The alternate colours, which appear like little rectangular bricks as they poke up through the black warp and then go back down, are made up of a teal coloured thread, a purple thread and a white thread. All in all there are four colours of threads in this design. Black, teal, purple and white.
Woven silk is a trial and error game. I am quite sure that even the very largest companies in the world of men's fashion struggle to ensure that every design comes out perfectly. For this reason most silk companies offer a range of colour ways during the sampling process so that designers can choose the best of the iterations run by the loom and potentially order alternate colour ways further down the track. The problem is, and this might be likely for most other design houses too, is that the sampling is often done on one colour of warp. This is most commonly black, white or navy. The reason so few warps are offered by silk looms is the high cost of making a single warp in one colour of thread (each warp has on average 15,680 threads across a 1.4 metre cylinder. For this reason, one of our preferred suppliers offers alternate colours and seasonal colours of warps to ensure that designs can reach their full potential.
Why would the colour of the warp affect the design? As you can see from the image below, weaving this design on a black warp means that wherever the warp thread is buried, the black warp thread shows through. Whilst on this realisation it wasn't too bad, on other silks this can cause a ghosting affect which can I either dull a design or else offer an unwanted shimmy to the silk.
In the end, most woven jacquard silk is beautiful and you very rarely are turned off a silk entirely, almost every one has a redeeming feature, but as you continue to challenge your Italian friends with new designs, so too you have to work out ways in which you will bring out the best of each design. In the meantime, take advantage of this particular silk which turned out to be not only great as a bow tie, but equally as beautiful as silk flower lapel button. Shop it now.