Yesterday I had the rare opportunity to see behind the scenes at Zandra Rhodes' print studio. It is based at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London and is in a room at the back of the museum, crammed full of an amazing archive of printing screens. Many of the screens date back to the 60s and are still used today. There is a massive print table running down the middle of the room, with only a small space on either side of the table to squeeze down. This is where all her prints are produced!
Zandra Rhodes' assistant talked us through her process. She was trying out samples on different pieces of chiffon. The table is ten metres long, so they can only do a small print batch at once.
Many different colour combinations of one print are tried out on the same fabric, mostly chiffon.
Because a lot of the printing happens on chiffon, the dye goes through to the fabric-covered print table underneath. I love the effect it produces. When the fabric covering is replaced, the old fabric gets sent out to be made up into something stunning.
Along one wall was a large collection of differing lengths of sticks with names on them. It was explained that these sticks were used to measure the side repeat of each screen.
A small selection of some of the screens.