A journey with a textile designer

 We decided to update our English section of the blog and make it more accessible to international audience. We felt there was no better way to launch our new English channel than an interview with an inspiring creator from the Netherlands, whose creations are unique and inspiring.

The textile designer Roos Soetekouw sees two trends in the contemporary world: “Today’s primary focus on quick, fast-fashion designs has resulted in a lack of interest in textiles. The second thing is that we are loosing track of one of our basic senses; touch. With all the tablets and touch screens surrounding us, we are in need for textures!"

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We met Roos Soetekouw in the Salone del Mobile in Milan. She specialized in textiles, her designs are based on the characteristics of the textiles themselves. For her, she says, design is a craft and an approach to the things that escape attention nowadays. By combining different techniques and research, she places her designs in that overlapping area between art and design.

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"I start with the basis of my design, the vessels and threads. That makes the textile what it actually is. How well does a mohair thread work together with a polyester yarn if you use a specific weave? And how does it look when you use different techniques next to each other?”

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Soetekouw tells us that she mixes different crafts with modern techniques in which the nature of the textile used is preserved. Her designs aim to explain the textile and the beauty of the product. The designs are created by drawing, painting, computer editing and combining different materials by hand. “A successful textile design is easy to translate into different products, regardless of whether they are being used for fashion or interior design.”

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Roos sees her own work as characterized by an outspoken, visual story and careful detailing. She uses high-quality, durable materials. The designs reflect her curiosity about life and her ability to look at it from an unusual perspective. Thanks to her fashion background, she does not shy away from selecting bold colour combinations and combining different materials to create luxurious fabrics. She says that today, there is a growing demand for her imaginary but bold style and feeling for tactile combinations. She still produces small quantity of fabrics in Tilburg, in a special production lab for designers.

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"My dream is to show the power and beauty of textiles. To explain textiles and produce them in a way that is both environmentally responsible as well as appealing to the touch with al the different structures in weave techniques and in yarns. My hope is that outstanding products will follow on from this process."

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Roos says that the production process can start everywhere. "At this moment I have a bottle with leftover ink in my studio. The structure and pattern the ink  left behind is so interesting, I can't stop looking at it.  For the fringe collection I pealed open a mattress, the glue pattern inside was so pretty. This was the inspiration for the graphic design of the fabrics. I draw, scan, paint, scan, print and do all of this over and over until the pattern looks good."
But the actual design starts at the weavers. She says that she checks which weaves to use, how they look together. How do the different types of yarn respond to each other? "I weave 10 cm a time, changing yarns, colours and weaves, but also changing the graphic design when I like a weaving technique but need to give it more space until i'm happy with the result."

For the designer's website see http://www.roossoetekouw.com/

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