Talking Textiles:
Patchwork From Paradise

Patchwork, Remixed

Patchwork is a fashion trend that has been around for decades and is having another turn in the spotlight. The revival of patchwork that has emerged in the past few years has a sunnier disposition with vibrant and lively designs, a far cry from the home crafted heavy quilts passed down from our grandmothers.  This new take mixes unexpected prints in a spontaneous nature, often collaging vintage fabrics in modern silhouettes. With the endless possibilities of mixing and matching, taking home a patchworked piece feels like a custom one-of-a-kind garment that stands out from the crowd and is bound to stir conversation for years to come.

A History Of Patchwork

The history of patchwork dates back over 5,000 years and can be found in cultures across the world. The first evidence of quilting layers of textile fabric together emerge from early-age China as robes and patchwork quilts. In ancient Egyptian tombs, patchwork was discovered on their clothing and walls. Throughout Asia, you can find thousand-year patchworking traditions such as Pakistan ralli quilts and the stitching blankets of India often given as gifts to newborns.

Han Chinese Boy's Robe ("One Hundred Households Robe") with Patchwork Design.  Qing dynasty, 1644–1911.  Silk embroidered with silk and metallic threads. Image source: St. Louis Art Museum


While there are examples of meticulously crafted patchwork reserved for nobility, this technique also began to appear in European households in the 11th century as a way to stay warm in colder climates. Patchwork in America after the Great Depression became a way to recycle garments into warm quilts in working class communities. These quilts were often composed of 100% cotton fabrics and embellished with decorative designs.

American patchwork quilt top, 1830-1850. Patchwork of machine-stitched roller printed wool squares. Image source: Smithsonian Design Museum


Patchwork made its way into mainstream ready-to-wear 1960s fashion and continues to grace today's designer runways.

Pieces of Paradise

In Tori Richard fashion, we pieced together fabrics from past collections into men’s and women’s styles to form It Takes A Village, our own version of patchwork. Each 3-inch by 3-inch block is a window into our art studio, featuring tropical motifs, shibori-inspired prints, and geometric designs. Ultramarine, cerulean, navy, and chocolate browns, come together in an unexpected manner telling a visual story of Tori Richard printmaking.

Early sampling of the It Takes A Village patchwork from the Tori Richard art studio.

Explore the collection and starting mixing up your wardrobe today. For the guys, a crisp button-down collared shirt over our Surf ‘N Turf shorts or pants is one way to the patchwork trend. For the ladies, three silhouettes are available to take for a spin around town. Whichever way you mix it up, the sky is the limit.


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