In honor of the recent fashion shenanigans during the legendary New York Fashion Week last week, I thought we should discuss how very similar the fashion and textile industry is to the tile industry.
Seems strange, doesn’t it?
For all of you who believe that fashion is silly and/or shallow…well, it is.
But whatever your feelings towards fashion may be, you can’t deny that it’s also highly influential, as it’s something that we wear ourselves on a daily basis. It influences our feeling of self-worth, our overall mood, and the way that society sees us. It’s something that we literally carry on us everywhere we go.
This influence from textiles carries over to the interior design industry heavily, which in turn filters down into the niche industries, tile included.
Don’t believe me?
Watch and learn:
Most frequently seen used on handbags, shoes, and belts, crocodile skin is a classic go-to textile for adding texture to an outfit without being too ostentatious. If you like the look of crocodile skin, be sure to check out Michael Kors’ new collection. Dior also has a few bags using this fabric.
In the home, crocodile skin is best used as upholstery fabric for dining chairs (a personal favorite as that is how I am reupholstering my William Switzer chairs), or for accessorizing. Bar trays are a popular choice for incorporating this particular textile.
This porcelain tile by Walker Zanger (Matouche Collection) mimics the textile remarkably well and helps add texture to a client’s dining room.
Ikat patterns have recently made a fashion comeback thanks to Balenciaga who re-introduced this fabric in the 2010 fall collection. These asian patterns have an almost tribal feel to them, and the rich color palette makes it a universally flattering print.
In the home, ikat is best used in smaller doses as the pattern in conjunction with the color palette can be quite overwhelming. Again, accent chairs are an excellent place to experiment with fun, vibrant textiles.
In tile, New Ravenna Mosaics has really raised the bar on glass mosaic with their new ikat collection. These glass tiles are visually stunning, and immediately create a focal point. Best used sparingly (feature wall or bar backsplash), but to great effect.
Is an explanation really necessary? Lace has been making its way into women’s fashion for centuries. It adds a bit of femininity to any article of clothing that it graces. In black, it turns edgy and sexy. It’s a universally flattering textile that will be loved forever by designers and fashionistas alike.
In the home, it is very difficult to incorporate lace literally and not look like you just stepped into grandma’s home. Instead, I like to opt for lace-inspired pieces. Elaborate baroque style mirrors and furniture lend credit to the texture and movement of lace, like the bed pictured below.
In tile, again, while there is no literal translation, Artistic Tile’s “Chateau” collection sure seems to borrow from the patterns and delicate loveliness of lace. Here it is installed as a kitchen backsplash. It adds femininity to an otherwise very masculine room, which provides some much-needed balance.
I have always had very mixed feelings about lamé, which generally has a very metallic look. It really goes through waves of popularity, but every time it comes back I just can’t help thinking “cheap 80’s”. Biased, yes. But I will admit it can be very flattering on the right person.
In the home, again, this is a textile best used as an accent. I like it best when used for throw pillows to add a bit of glitz and glamour to a room. Because it’s so thin, you wouldn’t want to use it for upholstery. But even better, create a lamé type look with a paint finish on a bit of accent furniture as soon below. Stunning.
Tile-wise, Walker Zanger captures the gleam of this fabric and gives it a masculine edge with their Steelworks porcelain collection. This tile would be ideal in a men’s home, as a fireplace surround or a shower surround as pictured below. I also think it would be cool in a bar area if we’re really getting into bachelor-pad applications.
Ahh leopard print. For the longest time, I was not a fan. I have recently embraced (binged on) this fun and funky textile, and I have to say that it just really gives you a shot of confidence. Whether in small doses (like a belt) or large doses (like a dress or long coat), it’s certainly an attention-grabber.
It only makes sense that the same result should be accomplished in the home. Anywhere you use this print will most definitely become the focal point of a room, and it’s a great fabric to fall back on if you’re looking for a quick way to liven up a space.
This leopard-inspired flooring caught my eye and is the only reason I even included leopard in this series. I just thought it was awesome. If anyone knows who makes it, please comment below because I’ve searched high and low! But what a unique way to add some visual interest.
A fabric as old as time. It just oozes beachy, summertime comfort. Or maybe I just think that because I’m living in a monsoon at the moment. Either way, it’s definitely a fabric that is comfortable to wear, drapes nicely on just about everyone, and gives you that casual cool look that I imagine is very popular in areas that actually know what sunshine is. Not so good in the rain.
In the home, the same type of effect is created. Linen immediately makes a space feel more inviting, comfortable, and laid-back. If this is more your personality, the best way to incorporate linen is, again, in upholstery. I love it as a headboard, or as a sofa slipcover. Curtains are also beautiful in linen if you live somewhere sunny (can you sense the jealousy dripping from my voice? Seriously what does a girl have to do to get some sun in her life?!).
Tile-wise, this popular fabric has become equally popular in tile. Many tile stories carry lines that give the same type of linen-y effect, but this one from Daltile is by far the most affordable option on the market.
The classic man’s suit fabric. Confident. Sophisticated. These are the adjectives that come to mind when you think about this fabric in terms of fashion. Seen on all the fashion giant’s creations from Armani to Hugo Boss, this is another textile that stands the test of time.
In the home, this pattern makes a great accent chair, but I also love it as the bedding for this bachelor pad. Nothing says “sophisticated man-cave” like pinstripe bedding.
In tile, the look is a bit more neutral, but still evident. Any way you slice it, something about those straight pinstripe lines just demands respect. I love it. Pair it with some natural stone, as seen below, and you have a very nice looking bathroom.
Plaid always seems to make an appearance on the fall fashion runways. Again, it just exudes comfort. Maybe it just makes us all nostalgic for simpler times when we cut our own wood and sang songs around campfires (truth time: I have never cut my own wood). Either way, it’s a comfortable fabric to wear, and when it’s used in an unexpected way it can become very chic.
The same is true in interiors. Traditional fabric + unlikely silhouette = visually stunning results. Who would have expected this combination? Plaid with red lacquer. In a traditional home without these contemporary elements, the plaid would have been very drab.
In tile, plaid has the same effect. The pattern was created with glittery glass mosaics that add glitz to a once-traditional textile. The effect is visually stunning. Also, sorry for continuing to post this photo, but it really is one of my all-time favorite rooms for so many reasons (obviously).
Anyone who has been following my blog for a little while has probably noticed my affinity for everything sparkly, glittery, or otherwise shiny. I don’t know if it’s a girl thing, or if I’m part goldfish, but I am just naturally drawn to anything that sparkles. As such, I’ve always appreciated fashion which incorporates the ultimate sparkly textile: sequins.
Sequins will almost certainly look tacky in your home used in any application other than as a throw pillow cover. I have yet to see an exception. Parties don’t count.
This tile isn’t literally sequin, but if you’re also obsessed with the glittery look of sequins, this tile mimics the behavior of sequins quite well. Perfect for a full backsplash, but also makes a nice feature, this tile from SICIS definitely adds some feminine pizazz to the space.
So, if that’s not enough proof that the two industries are related, I don’t know what is.
Fashion is a practical version of art after all, and so is quality interior design. So why not look to the runways for your next home renovation inspiration?
Here’s the final roundup of sources:
Croc Tile: Walker Zanger “Matouche”
Ikat Tile: New Ravenna Mosaics “Ikat”
Lace: Artistic Tile “Chateau”
Lame: Walker Zanger “Steelworks”
Leopard: Source Unknown (please comment below if you know!)
Linen: Daltile “Fabrique'”
Pinstripe: Walker Zanger “Xilo”
Plaid: SICIS Mosaic
Sequin: SICIS Mosaic
And, as always, if you’d like help making your home interior more fashion-forward, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
And PS: if I’ve helped you in the past and you enjoyed working with me, please don’t forget to tell others how awesome I am here!