Leaving an imprint: How our prints are madeFebruary 2023
We’re known for our prints at David Nieper. Sarah Allen, our Fabric Print Developer, tells us exactly what makes them so special.
When we go to meet Sarah in the design studio, she’s busy at her computer. Printed patterns are stacked neatly by her screen, while silky swatches hang invitingly on a rail beneath the desk. The screen itself is covered with beautiful splashes of colour, and Sarah tweaks thoughtfully at them with her cursor.
“Right now, I’m adjusting one of next summer’s prints to sit on the fabric in exactly the right way,” she tells us. “This will be a printed kaftan eventually. I know roughly where the pattern will be cut from the fabric, so I’m trying to make the focal point of the print sit on the neckline.”
This is what’s called a placement print. It’s where we adapt and arrange the print to get exactly the right effect, rather than simply repeating it across the fabric. It’s more time consuming and requires a lot of extra care, but it’s always worth it to create a beautifully finished garment.
At least, we certainly think so – we’re one of the few British clothing companies to do it.Shop prints
Placement is just one of many special techniques that make our prints so distinctly David Nieper. Over the years, we’ve become well known for our carefully curated print collection, ranging from bold and vibrant geometric patterned tops to delicate floral printed dresses. It’s all down to people like Sarah and the rest of the design team, who select and customise every last print we use. We ask Sarah to walk us through their process.
Selecting our prints
“We choose our prints very deliberately,” says Sarah, “It’s not just about what will make a pretty printed top, skirt, dress, or pair of trousers. We look for patterns we know our customers will love, and we try to get a balance of lots of different styles so that there’s something to suit everyone’s tastes.
“This usually means plenty of art prints, some florals, and a few more trend-led pieces. And once we’ve chosen a print, it’s exclusively ours. No one else can use it. That means if a customer absolutely loves a David Nieper print, they won’t find it anywhere else.
“When we buy a print, we’re sent the digital artwork and the swatches to work from,” she chooses a swatch from the rail and lays it out to show us, “which look like this. For a repeating pattern, I have to meticulously arrange the artwork to make it work perfectly. Think of it as a bit like when you’re putting up wallpaper; it takes some thought to make it match up properly.”
Choosing the colours
It’s fascinating to watch the team at work, and to hear just how much effort goes into crafting our prints. We notice a series of mood boards on the wall, and wonder how the team decides on the colours for each collection.
“Our customers really love the colours in our prints, and for this season we have everything from soft pastels to head-turning citrus. There’s truly something for everybody.
“We consider what’s been especially popular and what’s on-trend, then put together moodboards filled with complementary colours, prints and textures. These are fundamental to the look and feel of our collection, and there will be some trends that always reappear, such as tropical summer palettes or cool blues – blue is always one of our customers’ favourites.”
The future of print
Colour, style, the way they’re placed – there’s so much that makes our prints special. But what’s next for prints at David Nieper?
“We’re designing more and more prints ourselves. One of the fabrics in next season’s nightwear collection was drawn in-house, and the spot print on this spring’s occasionwear dresses is another of ours.
“Even more exciting is our digital printing factory, which has just opened close by our sewing rooms. This factory will allow us to take total control over the fabric printing process, printing on ethical pure cotton jersey using more sustainable methods.
“We’re already leading the way in print, and this will only serve to set us even further apart.”VIEW PRINTS
Creating our popular prints involves far more than simply choosing a gorgeous fabric. Every last piece is thoughtfully designed and crafted with care, always with the styles and colours you love in mind. To see the results for yourself, browse our collection of printed garments – there’s something for every style and shape.