Sunday, January 2, 2011

Veritable Wax Hollandais--Vlisco Prints!

One of the most exciting fabric manufacturers in the world if Vlisco, the maker of Wax Hollandais fabrics. I know that I've written about them before, HERE, but due to the overwhelming interest I've received regarding that post, I've decided to write some more.

Vlisco started in 1846 in Helmond, Netherlands to take advantage of demand for batik fabrics.  At first, the focus was on Indonesian batik fabrics, but demand in West Africa for vibrant, beautiful fabrics took off and that market has since become the sole focus of Vlisco.  Currently, no fabrics are produced with Europe or US in mind, instead the focus in on Benin, Togo, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, and surrounding countries.  The consumer that Vlisco is meant for are the women of those countries who have their clothes custom made and are interested in beautiful clothes of lasting value.  Vlisco is trying to branch out and be a fashion brand and not just a fabric manufacturer.  They are currently opening Vlisco boutiques around the major cities of their target countries to cater to the tastes and trends of their customers.

At first, the fabrics were printed by hand with huge stamps but in 1910 the company started to transition into using mechanical printers.  The last hand-printed fabric was produced in 1993.  The fabric is produced by applying a specific kind of wax and then dye to high-grade fabrics.  The process that Vlisco uses is proprietary, but that is the gist of it--the fabric is repeatedly stamped with wax and dye to form the print.  The fabric itself isn't white--Vlisco uses a variety of base colors for their fabric, such as indigo, sepia, claret and related colors.  This gives the colors of the fabric more vibrancy and depth.  The wax that is used is made to crackle different every time, so the print that is produced is different in each spot and no piece of fabric is ever the same.

A new fabric collection is produced once a quarter, both because the customers want new prints regularly and to keep ahead of the copy-cats.  My favorite print from the latest collection is part of the Gallery of Poems line.  It's so cool!  It reminds me of traditional perfume bottles, kinda Arabian Nights but not overwhelming.  It would look so cool is a full, pleated skirt so that print could be seen but wouldn't look like a costume.

Vlisco is clearly one of the top producers of beautifully printed fabrics.  Not only are the prints interesting and innovate but the quality of the fabric is worth wearing!

Image and information obtained from Vlisco and their representatives.


Mohammad Salauddin said...

Wow this is very good. these colorful fabrics as like as African Wax Print Fabrics .

Gilain Macgrath said...

Very interesting! This work is really satisfactory for us. Thanks African textiles

Bharath Gopalan said...

Hopefully, I'll soon see my blog on here.

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