Horseshoe Spotlight: Ikat Fabric

Posted on May 18 2018

Several of our favorite Horseshoe designers (including Prairie Underground and The Odells) are featuring ikat fabric in their collections this season, and we are obsessed! Many of you have probably seen ikat fabric before. It is often vibrantly hued and can feature complex patterns with many different colors. But we were shocked to learn how complicated creating ikat fabric is!

An ikat dress from The Odells, featured in our 2018 spring lookbook, "Desert Oasis."

For those unfamiliar, ikat is a traditional form of woven fabric that has roots in several parts of the world, including Indonesia, India, Central Asia, and parts of pre-Columbian South and Central America. Fascinatingly, the technique of creating ikat fabric seems to have developed independently in all of these different places! Anna Hoffman wrote a great piece on ikat for Apartment Therapy a while back; it's super informative and breaks down the complicated ikat-weaving process - check it out:

A textile from Uzbekistan, made in the mid-1800s. Photo Credit: Hanging or cover, Central Asia, Uzbekistan, mid-19th century. The Textile Museum 2015.11.35. Gift of Guido Goldman in honor of Bruce P. Baganz.

Unlike many fabrics where a print or an image is printed onto the fabric after it has been woven, the threads in ikat fabrics are dyed before they are woven. The threads are tied in a bundle and traditionally are secured with grasses or cotton treated with wax that stops the dye from permeating that part of the thread. Adding to the complexity, this means that the weaver has to know exactly where in the piece the pattern will be before they begin weaving! 

This video offers a short glimpse of the time and skill required to create ikat. Take a look!

 We're so inspired by this process and by the incredible craftsmanship of the artisans who make ikat fabric. We can't wait to share all of our pieces for spring featuring ikat with all of you!

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