January 2022

Discovering the original collection of printed Flocus™ kapok-based fabrics by emerging designer Andrea Ramos

Andrea Ramos is a young and passionate designer who has recently graduated at Accademia Aldo Galli in Como. While attending her master in Textile, Innovation and Sustainability, she was eager to develop a project utilizing the properties offered by Flocus™ kapok fibers in the sustainable transition for the fashion industry.

During her following training experiences, she used a range of Flocus™’ kapok-based fabrics to develop her original collection of printed fabrics, applying an innovative, low impact and energy saving printing technique developed by Kornit Digital and utilized in Italy by Creazioni Digitali.

The result is a stunning sample collection of abstract patterns. Let’s discover them through the words of Andrea Ramos.

Hello Andrea! Can you briefly introduce yourself and your experience/education in the textile and fashion world?

Hello, my name is Andrea Ramos Alvarado and I am 22 years old, I was born in Mexico but currently growing my professional path in Italy. I did my bachelor´s degree in Textile Design at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, and later did my masters in Textile, Innovation and Sustainability at Accademia Aldo Galli in Como, Italy.

My career in design has always been driven by genuine purpose and impact, looking to do great things for the people and the planet. In the last couple years of my journey, I have been deeply interested in the sustainable and regenerative practices of the textile and fashion industry because I think these are crucial for today´s innovative development.

You encounter Flocus™ during an internship. Later, during your training experiences, you developed an interesting project of printing on Flocus™ kapok-based fabrics. Can you tell us something about it?

I had the amazing opportunity of implementing my design skills into a sample collection of printed fabrics. This was meant as a complementary part of my thesis project, which focused on portraying the potential of the new vegetable fibres to be optimal alternatives to materials that today are harming the people and the planet.

This was carried out using a new printing technology offered by Kornit Digital and currently utilzed Italy by the company Creazioni Digitali. The goal was also to explore the possibilities of printing on natural fibres and different types of blends, which included Flocus™ kapok and organic cotton, Flocus™ kapok and recycled polyester, Flocus™ kapok and Tencel, and others.

Which are the advantages of this printing technique end why it is it a sustainable choice to create printed fabrics?

This printing technology has the amazing advantage of being able to print on any kind of surface, which works great with kapok fabrics due to the fact that it is blended with other materials. Nonetheless technology of this machine is able to print on every textile surface.

The environmental benefits are evident, right away, the fact that this is done without the need of post or pre-treatments saves an enormous amount of the water and energy resources that are used in these steps of the process. It is done with water-based inks, which means there is no use of hazardous chemicals and therefore the biodegradability of kapok and organic materials are not compromised. It uses an on-demand production, reducing the fabric waste and making the quantity of productions more flexible.

I wanted to make a project which highlighted sustainability, and this technology paired with Flocus™ materials allowed me to develop a collection that offered better solutions with lower impacts for the textile and fashion industry.

Your printed fabrics have been much appreciated by the people of the textile world who have seen them. Tell us something about your style. Where do you find inspiration?

My inspiration came from the beauty of the fibre producing species. The Kapok Tree has a strong meaning for me, it is a tree that has great abundance in my country of origin and many years ago my ancestors used to have a deep respect for it, considering it as a sacred resource inside the native worldview, the support of the universe and the origin of life. All of these fascinating descriptions made me look at the natural context of the tree in a different way, and for this reason the patterns were inspired in the elements that make up the essence of the species. The designs were made with an abstract and graphic style to achieve a temporary and joyful aesthetic.

I also paired this concept with the analysis of some contemporary textile and fashion trends that spoke about the new rising interest for sustainability and the growing consciousness of the consumer for more responsible consumption, this made me realize that the designs needed to translate the organic origins of kapok as a valuable raw material.

What impression did you get working with Flocus™ kapok-based fabrics? How important are sustainable materials for you?

Working with Flocus™kapok-based fabrics constituted an opportunity for me to explore the possibilities of design. I think it is very important to show the potential of this fiber through the innovative blends that provide performance and respond to society´s demand for lesser impacts of the supply chain.

As a designer I feel a profound responsibility to make improved choices. It is believed that the design phase determines most of the environmental and social impact so it is crucial for us designers and creators to inform ourselves about preferred materials and technologies that are not only limiting to reducing the consequences of the bad practices, but actually bringing further benefits that heal the damages provoked by the industry.

Overall, Flocus™ Kapok has made me feel inspired to bring change and transformation to my design journey.

(Images courtesy of Andrea Ramos)