Akris Photo Prints
In the early years of the twenty-first century, Albert Kriemler began to explore two new photographic technologies: digital photo manipulation and ink-jet printing. The ability to print continuously over the entire width of a raw fabric created new possibilities to display the outcomes of digital photo manipulation.
For this new type of creations, Albert’s design process would begin not only with a choice of fabric, as always, but also with the choice of an image or series of images for photo-printing on fabric. “Half the mistakes with prints come from using wrong fabric,” says Albert. Many of the refined fabrics that he wanted to use were too thin or fragile to be printed with the available ink-jet methods. To solve this problem, he worked closely with textile innovator Jakob Schlaepfer in St.Gallen to extend the photo-printing to techniques such as laser printing and dye transfer.
The printed fabric further needs to be matched to the dress pattern and aligned with any embroidery and other details in the final article of clothing. But it is not easy to synchronize material and print. A related element of this creative process involves how Albert adapts the visual material to match its proportions with those of the actual dress or pants, creating a “canvas” to be worn by a woman.
The first photo prints were shown in the Spring-Summer 2009 collection. They were the product of technological innovation and artistic sensibility. Albert was inspired by the Scottish artist Ian Hamilton Finlay, who had worked for thirty-six years creating his garden, Little Sparta. “Set in a beautiful, but bleak and unforgiving landscape, Finlay’s Little Sparta is an extraordinary artist’s garden, combining landscape, trees, plants, sculpture, and poems to make a true Gesamtkunstwerk,” declared Finlay’s obituary in The Guardian (March 27, 2006).
Pixelated, digitalized photos were printed on silk georgette and matte paillettes to add to their effect – a technical tour de force. Many of the clothes were characterized by an unprecedented lightness and transparency, which relied on exquisite fabrics and a pale, ultrafeminine palette. .
A new element in the Akris “code”, photo prints rapidly became part of Albert’s signature style. Very soon Albert built an own atelier with a committed team to create the unique photo prints. Since then, every collection holds photographic or digital prints stemming from different inspirations. They can be found on seasonal ready-to-wear and Akris collectors scarves.