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TEXTILES | PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE

Thursday, July 18th 2019 by

From humble beginnings to the present day, the textile industry has transformed and influenced the world’s styles and trends. In this post, we pay brief homage to some of these iconic periods and incredible eras that textiles helped to create and define…


The 50s and 60s saw the textile industry take a transformative turn from the preceding depression of the 30s and 40s. The Second World War meant materials had skyrocketed to premium prices due to the drastically reduced labour force…

After the austerity of WWII, a spirited new world emerged and interior design was given a fresh new perspective. Advances in manufacturing and technology led to experimentation with molded plastics, organic shapes and imaginative forms. These advancements teamed with a diverse range of new fabrics led to a creative and colourful time. The introduction of synthetic textiles opened up an array of new opportunities, mixing them with natural fibres to create hybrid fabrics that exceeded the abilities of their all-natural predecessors. This luxurious and brave era brought bold, beautiful and flamboyancy together – bringing us a selection of fearlessly saturated hues and floral motifs that paid tribute to classic, folk and ethnic sources.

Images (clockwise from top left): Interior 1, Floral Print 1, Elizabeth Taylor, Vogue Cover, Interior 2, Green Sofa, Christian Dior Dress, Mustard Arm Chairs, Floral Print 2.


Following the advances of technology and manufacturing in the 50s and 60s… The 70s and 80s brought a new wave of inspiration to textiles, pushing the limits of colour and structure. Merging graphic design with textile engineering to create ultra-liberal, rule-bending fabrics. Developments in automation eventuated in the open-ended spinning of yarn and weaving with shutterless looms. This culminated in an intricate new level of design for the likes of bedding, upholstery and window dressings.

The 70s and 80s also saw the rise and impact of music in the media. This influence and surge of the yuppie culture were at the forefront of the postmodernism and avant-garde art movements. From bold geometrics and neon colours to soft pastels tones and fluffy textures – interiors began to blur the lines between art, form and functionality.

Images (clockwise from top left): Interior 1, Interior 2, Staircase, Graphic Print, David Bowie, Interior 2, Photoshoot 1, Saint Laurent Cover.


Generation X and the World Wide Web saw people gaining influence from across the globe. Thousands of now easily accessible resources transformed the way designers operated and led to a myriad of exciting new interior styles. This ‘fake it till you make it’ era saw things like stencilling, sponge painting, and faux aged finishes become a staple in many interiors.

Old world trends also began to re-emerge within textiles, like tartan creating a sophisticated and desirable statement against beautiful wood-grain furniture. With the teaming of courageous colour and globally inspired geometrics, interiors reach a daring new level. This eclectic influence paired with the experimental reimagining of old furniture forms led to an exhibition of fanciful, fashion-forward pieces and styling.

The frenetic styling of the 90s took a new turn in the 00s with the influence of rustic, minimalist Scandinavian design. This saw a restraint in colour saturation and the re-introduction of natural fibres. Fashion also played a huge part during this time with the rise of iconic brands like Versace, Alexander McQueen and Calvin Klein.

Images (clockwise from top left): Boots, Wall Tiles, Interior 1, Warwick Fabrics (discontinued), Interior 2, Interior 3, Versace Style, Interior 4.


The digital age has immersed and influenced almost every aspect of our current world. This new and connected era has seen some incredible developments in textiles with the introduction of digital, laser and 3D printing. These CNC machines are pushing the boundaries of science and technology in fabrics further than ever!

The likes of Nanotechnology is being used in the creation of fibres that are fire-repellent, self-cleaning, anti-perspiring and water-repellent, (to name a few) completely revolutionising how and where we use them. Cotton, linen and wool are becoming more adventurous in their saturation, paired with bright whites and natural elements like stone to bring us the contemporary formations of today. Existing designs are being re-interpreted with these new fabrication processes to bring us incredible feats of engineering. Pushing materials to new limits with bold, organic and functional forms that bewilder and amaze.

Images (clockwise from top left): Black Arm Chair, Runway Fashion, Graphic Print, Interior 1, Organic Side Table, Warwick Fabrics – Avesta, Sculpture – Patricia Piccinini, Sofa & Chair.


What’s next? What does the future have in store for the textile world?

This is an exciting topic for discussion… Beyond the present, we can predict to see ‘smart’ fabrics coming to fruition. Harnessing our advances in science and technology to create textiles with the ability to do incredible things including changing colour, regulating temperature, reacting to vibration, sound or heat, enhancing moods and even gather energy from its surrounding environments.

Images (clockwise from top left): Chair, Drapery, Geometric Texture, 3D Printed Chair.


There are some incredibly exciting times ahead for the world of textiles! In saying that, we would love to hear about your predictions for the future of fabric. Follow us on our social feeds to keep in touch and stay up to date with the latest from Warwick Fabrics and the textile industry.

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