sound like a designer | ikat

Have you ever been around a designer, or a designer-type when they start throwing around words like “enfilade” “ensuite,” “bobéche” or the like?  Did you feel like a cartoon character with a huge question mark floating over your head?  Have no fear, db is going to teach you about the secret language of designers through a new series called “Sound Like a Designer.”

Unless you live under a rock, I’m sure you have heard


the design and fashion flock all aflutter over Ikat.




Pronunciation: \ˈē-ˌkät\




Function: noun





Ikat means “to tie” or “to bind” in Indonesian.  It is a style of weaving that uses a resist dyeing process (similar to tie-dye) before the threads are woven to create a design.  A Double Ikat is when both the warp and the weft are tie-dyed.

Ikat is common in Central and South America in countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Mexico.  You will also find the technique in use in Central Asia in Uzbekistan and South East Asia in India and Japan.

Ikats are viewed as symbols of status, wealth, power and prestige.  Some cultures believe the cloth is imbued with magical powers!

Ikats are still showing up on runways -- these looks below are from Gucci's Spring 2010 collection recently showed in Milan:

Even the runway graphic is ikat-inspired!


As you can see by the images below, the pattern can be incorporated into just about any decorative style in as big, or as small doses as you like!



Despite their distinct appearance, ikats combine beautifully with other patterns and they also can bring a dose of worldliness into a room.