Joana Dias – The Pictorial Garden

A Student from Kingston School Of Art for Digital Print talks about her inspiration behind ‘The Pictorial Garden’ and her experience with Forest Digital.

Fashion graduate, Joana Dias reached out to Forest Digital while still studying at  Kingston School Of Art for digital print on her collection. The printing workshop at Kingston University was closed, the reason being the country was under quarantine owing to the pandemic. Joana, 29, originally from Portugal, is passionate about printing and textile design. She needed to print her entire graduate collection on deadstock fabric and present it at graduate fashion week.

Joana’s ‘Pictorial Garden’ collection is inspired from a documentary. She watched ‘The Life of Linen,’ a documentary set in the Portuguese countryside in the 1940s. Joana fell in love with the simple, highly sustainable, and beautiful process of homemade linen, from plant to fabric. In the Douro region, harvesting linen was not only a daily task that would normally pay for rent, but also, a moment of celebration and happiness.

Her silhouettes are an interpretation of what Portuguese women would love to wear on these occasions, which is huge skirts with infinite layers of prints. Joana’s passion for craft and the magic associated with everything we are able to create with our own hands inspired her to combine her country’s heritage with the Bauhaus, Anni Alber’s pictorial weavings, and the undertone sensuality of Barbara Hepworth’s sculptures.

Through knitwear and print, Joana was able to create different textures which illustrate the surface of the Douro landscape, as well as the structures we can find in the artists’ weavings and sculptures. The knitted garments are made from natural fibres. Digitally produced on deadstock fabrics, the wovens are completely unique.

Q+A’s with Joana 

What were you looking for from Forest Digital?

At the time, the printing workshop at Kingston university was not accepting printing on students’ fabrics because of the pandemic. I was using deadstock fabric for my entire collection. As a result, I had no choice but to search for alternatives outside of the University. That is when I found Forest Digital and the team kindly accepted my order.

How did you find the customer service?

I didn’t expect a huge quantity of fabric to be printed. Forest Digital was really helpful and interested in providing precisely what I asked for.

Did Forest Digital follow through adequately on delivering on time? 

Surprisingly they did. I was not 100% sure about the composition of the fabrics. I knew they were supposed to be 100% cotton but I couldn’t be sure since they were stored for a very long time. And although my fabrics were not the ones the team at Forest Digital were used to working with, everything was delivered very smoothly and on time for my deadlines.

How was your project used?

I used the printed fabrics for my graduate collection. The collection was then showcased during the University’s graduation show and Graduate Fashion Week.

Would you recommend Forest Digital to other designers?

Definitely. I hope to work with Forest Digital myself in the future. 

Do you have a favourite piece in your collection?

That is a very difficult question to answer. I’ve spent so much time designing and making every single piece that makes all of them very special to me. But I would say that the balloon dress and the hand-knitted cardigan are two of my favourites. 

How does it feel to graduate during a pandemic?

In the beginning, I felt a bit disappointed about how limited my work was, based on the fact I couldn’t use the workshops at the university, or search for different fabrics and yarns in fabric stores or even go to museums to find inspiration. However, it was also a huge challenge that enabled me to explore my creativity and problem-solving skills which is very relevant for me now that I want to start working in the fashion industry. It feels like a great achievement now that I finally finished. 

A little more about you?

My objective is to specialise in textile design after graduating from Kingston School of Art. I developed a passion for print and for knitwear. I believe, those are the most exciting ways of exploring colour and texture in fashion design.

What are your hopes for the future of fashion?

The last year has certainly been a period for reflection and has uncovered new ways to create and show fashion. To innovate and find solutions. It has prompted many designers, as well as the industry as a whole, to consider how they might think more sustainably.

We at Forest Digital would like to thank Joana for taking the time to give us feedback. It’s important to us that we continue to support designers through the creative process to finish projects.

Forest Digital, a major provider of digital textile printing services in the UK, specialises in digital fabric printing, which produces vivid and long-lasting prints on a wide range of bright fabrics.