Designing for a Sustainable (and Fashionable) World

Discovering creativity at the touch of an app, artist Pascale Dilger has reinvented her textile practice using Capture CC and Photoshop CC.

by Wren Sauer

posted on 03-08-2018

In a fast-paced market where clothing and homewares have become disposable after a season, how do we slow down and appreciate the items we already have? Fabric waste is one of the leading causes of pollution across the globe and is taking a severe toll on our environment. Recent graduate Pascale Dilger has been tackling this topic through her MA practice, combining natural elements with digital production to weave intricate illustrative textiles.

Dilger studied Ethical Fashion during her time as a BA student at Bath Spa University in Bath, England, where she gained a love for textiles and environmental awareness. In a culture where fast fashion waste is prevalent, the focus gave her the opportunity to reflect on how to reduce that excess and protect the natural world.

At the time of her undergraduate studies, she was unable to find clothing for her daughter that was organic, sustainably made, and visually appealing, so she began investigating ways to create them herself. Further research led her into understanding the manufacturing models of large businesses and how cost effective producing environmentally friendly clothing truly is. Real change in these markets ultimately depends on a shift in attitude from consumers from cheap mass production to high quality, sustainable goods.

Moving into her postgrad with this in mind, she turned her focus to creating high-quality, bespoke textiles adorned with flora and fauna. “It’s such a privilege to have an experience with an animal or nature…I’ve really felt like it’s the only way to express my appreciation of it, through my work.”

She is most inspired through the experiences of her children. “Whatever I do is really inspired by [them.] My son is very interested in science and the natural world, so we watch a lot of nature programs…I’m always surrounded by it.” Dilger is no stranger to these hands-on experiences with nature, though. Her father was an entomologist so she was always surrounded by fascinating insects and spiders growing up.

In the midst of finishing her MA, Dilger was struggling to find a method of working that balanced her time. “When I found the Adobe mobile apps, it was a new world.” She says, “I’m a single mom of two children and my work time is really limited. I had to find a way to work more efficiently. When I found I could just make a vector file through my iPad, it felt like a miracle.” The ability to streamline her workflow to create on the go opened up brand new methods of creating her patterns.

Pascale crafted a final collection of jacquard woven fabrics for her MA. See her step-by-step process for creating her lush tropical dart frog tapestry below:

Select Photograph

Convert into vector file in Adobe Capture

Change contrast if desired

Erase any unwanted areas

Save file to library

Build portfolio of vector files

Open file from Creative Cloud Library

Start filling in shapes with chosen color palette

Collage vector shapes to create pattern

Final product after being translated into digital jacquard woven fabric

Starting with a trip to the aquarium with her children, Dilger took photos of foliage in the exhibits. She used Capture to vectorize the images she wanted to incorporate into the pattern.

After creating the vector assets in Capture, she then brought them into Photoshop to collage her drawings and vector images together. Here, she decided on color palette and composition for her final repeat pattern. Colors are defined by specific combinations of weaves available from the textile printer. Working on the digital canvas is part intuition, part play as she collages her assets together to find the right fit for the repeat.

After finishing her pattern in Photoshop, she sends the file to the textile printer to get made into the completed woven fabric.

These fabrics are incredible pieces on their own, but Dilger also incorporates hand embroidered details into her pieces to compensate for the color limitations of the weave. “It started with the fact that because you have to stick to a color palette, sometimes you create a palette with reds and other colors that [can’t] be incorporated.” The embroidery also satisfies a need to use her hands, creating one-of-a-kind textiles for market.

Details of tufted embroidery

Pascale plans to take her finished portfolio of fabrics to trade shows across the UK. She wants companies and consumers to decide on how to utilize her textiles. “I feel that I can make a suggestion for the products with my fabrics, but the consumer can ultimately decide on the use for them. They’re suitable for soft furnishing, throws, even apparel.

The option to create truly unique and personal items of clothing or textiles establishes a connection with these items and has been shown to increase longevity of apparel and interiors, reducing waste and adding a creative involvement in the way we dress and furnish our homes.”

You can find more of her work on her website and Instagram:

Interested in making your own digital collages? Give Pascale’s workflow a try and download Capture CC for iOS and Android to bring your assets into Photoshop CC. Make sure to share your work using #AdobeCapture or by posting in the comments for a chance to be featured on our social channels!

Topics: Creativity, Design

Products: Photoshop, Creative Cloud