Applique… I’m sure you’ve seen this word when browsing the web for a new addition to your wardrobe. But! Do you actually know what it is? Applique is frequently used incorrectly and there is some misunderstanding around this topic. it’s a tough word to say, never mind understand! But that’s why I’m here, to clear up the misconceptions and answer all your applique questions.
What is Applique?
So firstly, what the hell is it? In retail the word is used so vaguely and never really explained fully, even I was confused about applique until I joined Banana Moon. Essentially applique is attaching a pre-cut piece of fabric onto a garment using embroidery. It’s used as a decorative technique to add texture and larger designs onto clothing.
As you’ve probably guessed, applique is a French word which means to join or attach. Appropriately named if you ask me, especially when you take a look at its history. This technique has been used for centuries across the world, but not how we know it today. No in fact applique originated as a way to mend clothing, by stitching other swatches of fabric over any holes that appeared. Pretty resourceful but it may not have looked the most fetching. Potentially that’s the reason applique developed into what it is today. Over time people began to put more thought into how they mended their clothing, to improve the appearance of their possessions. Until eventually it developed into an embellishment rather than a fix. Now applique is a creative art form, deliberately used to add decoration to garments.
At Banana Moon we’ve been using this technique for years… you could even say we are experts. Our applique process is quite simple to grasp though. Firstly our design team create a digitised version of the applique including the base fabric and stitching. The fabric is then cut out using a specialist applique cutter, so it’s all set to go straight into production. The embroidery machine will mark out where the fabric will sit and then stitch the shape onto the garment (it’s pretty interesting to watch). A lot of the time there is extra embroidery added to properly finish off the design and create detail.
Applique is super popular for universities and colleges. I’m sure you’ve all seen the letterman jackets with the oversized capital letters? Scroll down and you will see what I mean. These are some great examples of how we use applique, but there are a lot of other uses too.
Applique in retail
Many big retail brands use applique in high street fashion. I bet now you’ve read this you will notice it everywhere! Recently, low end brands such as pretty little thing and boohoo.com have been using floral applique to embellish the high street. Huge applique flowers are plastered over skirts, tees, lingerie, you name it! This technique is definitely on trend right now.
But it’s not just budget fashion that uses applique. This technique can actually add a high-quality, premium feel when used in certain ways. Let me give you an example. Superdry… This premium clothing retailer uses applique to plaster their brand name across their garments. You must have seen the thick hoodies with huge lettering and frayed edges. Well… that’s applique. Jack Wills, Hollister and Abercrombie are also fans of this design.
So there you have it. I hope now applique is crystal clear and all the confusion is cleared up. Why not experiment with applique? Jump on the 80’s trend and get yourself a personalised letterman jacket. Or why not embellish your team’s hoodie to get that high end look? Got your own fashion brand? Well applique is on trend so browse our apparel to get you started.