WHILE THE imagination holds then unleashes unlimited possibilities, what is available to us in the physical world creates boundaries to what we can do, and often we have to settle. A new collection by designer Happy Andrada transcends these boundaries with the help, of all things, a fabric printer.

Last week, Ms. Andrada presented a fashion show called Transcendence at the Edsa Shangri-La. While ostensibly a welcome-home show for the London-educated Ms. Andrada, who had just finished presenting at both London and Paris Fashion Weeks earlier this year, it also served to show the arrival of the Kornit Allegro fabric printer, as distributed in the country by Norde International.

Ms. Andrada’s design mostly show femininity ensconced in a dreamland. While her collections may sometimes veer towards a sugary but clean aesthetic, Ms. Andrada’s other collections lean towards the nightmarish, showing dramatic, powerful outfits fit for a villain. But Ms. Andrada tempers this with a respect for her roots, more often showing her designs with fabrics and weaves from indigenous people in the Philippines.

Flights of fabric fancy

For Transcendence, Ms. Andrada combined both her worlds by showing her dramatic flair tempered by highly feminine motifs of flowers, as well as arguably the most graceful dance form, classical ballet. With the help of photographer Shaira Luna, Ms. Andrada and her friend and collaborative partner shot a series of photographs with ballerinas in various poses and forms, and then manipulated them digitally to make graphic art which were then printed on various fabrics (from chiffon to neoprene) with the Kornit Allegro. The result is dark, showing tones of sickly green and pensive blue, saved by the faces and bodies of the dancers printed on the fabric. During the show, ballerinas dressed in a blue and white checked fabric (actually a complex tesselated pattern) performed, waving about scarves printed with feminine motifs of flowers and fellow dancers. “I think it’s perfect for the technology, to show the flow of the fabric,” Ms. Andrada said when asked why she chose dance as a theme for the project. Having bodies printed on clothing to be draped over the body connects the outfit more to the wearer: “It’s nice to have someone there, so it’s not just, like, flowers.”

Norde International’s president, Allan Hao Chin said that while other printers are easily available in the market, the Allegro by Israel-based Kornit requires no post- or pre-treatment to the fabric, and can work with a wider variety of fabrics. He pointed out that competitors in the fabric printing market sell separate printers for natural fabrics and polyesters — with the Allegro, this is all achieved with one machine, using one type of ink, according to Mr. Hao Chin.

Flights of fabric fancy
Designer Happy Andrada — PHOTOS BY JOSEPH L. GARCIA

The technology cut Ms. Andrada’s work time short, as the construction of the collection — from fabric to an actual product — took her only about a month (cooking up and shooting the concept was another matter).

Mr. Hao Chin noted that the printer is a potential boon to designers. Textile manufacturers would require minimum orders to maximize their resources — Mr. Hao Chin gives an example of 5,000 yards — not everyone would be so keen on purchasing 5,000 yards of fabric for a 30-piece collection of one-off outfits, which would then render the other thousands of yards of fabric utterly irrelevant.

“This one now opens a lot of possibilities for fashion designers and also to brands,” he said, citing that start-ups looking to sell their clothes via large retail chains would no longer have to worry about excess stock, for example, when they show samples to these retailers. — JLG