Part one of our three-part mini-series looked at how creating a collection begins with filling a blank piece of paper with inspiration and themes. Here in part two, it’s all about choosing the right colour for the resulting design.
Which colour composition best accentuates a pattern and how many ideas are actually used in the end?
Once the first creative step towards a new collection has been taken, the design themes have been determined and the designs have been sketched, it’s time for the creative team and head designer Stefan Gabel to make some decisions: How large should a motif be on the fabric, which colours define the zeitgeist, how many colours is the fabric going to be produced in, what is going to be sent for sample production and finally which design is going to be added to the Zimmer + Rohde range? It takes a lot of imagination, experience and intuition to make these decisions – attributes that the designers of Zimmer + Rohde collections have in spades.
Coming up with the colour scheme demands a great deal of imagination
The colour of the warp and weft threads that senior designer Anja Jores is choosing in the photo above will give the fabric a watercolour look later. To achieve this effect, Anja has to keep certain questions in mind such as: How does blue mix with turquoise and red when all three thread colours are mixed into the weave in equal proportions?
The first samples are woven as soon as the design team has decided on the colour nuances and combinations. Hundreds of colour variants are then looked at, evaluated and deemed suitable or unsuitable for the current collection. Some colour combinations look fantastic but still don’t fit the look of the current collection. And despite years of experience, a result can never be anticipated 100 per cent and there are always surprises. “Sometimes, disappointment and enthusiasm are next-door neighbours,” says head designer Stefan Gabel.
Even after years in the job, holding the finished product in their hands is still a highlight for the designers.
It’s a special moment when the first large batches arrive after months of creation and design development. But even then, the product development process still isn’t complete. A range of quality and colour tests come next. Does the colour match the colour of the prototypes? Does the weave feel right? Is the quality sufficient? The final production of sample books and showroom samples is only given the go-ahead once all these strict tests have been passed.
Check out part three of our mini-series on the creation of a collection at Zimmer + Rohde to find out where these tests take place and what they focus on in particular.