Print inspiration: Delving into the Baxter Mill Archive

At a time when nostalgia is riding high, archival materials are an invaluable source of inspiration and direction for future design.

Based in South Carolina, the Baxter Mill Archive is one of the best, offering an extraordinary collection of print and pattern materials. The company’s archive dates back to the early 1800s, consisting of antique fabrics swatches, hand-painted artwork and books.

It’s one of the world’s most expansive textile and art archives and, here at WGSN, we have the great pleasure of collaborating with the team each season for our Print & Pattern forecast.

Together, we explore a broad range of materials, closely studying the intricate designs, consuming the colours and learning interesting narratives about each unique sample.

Inside the studio

The team’s in-house designers utilise the archive to support their internal creative needs, re-mastering original files to make them more marketable to current or future trends.

They collaborate with other designers and businesses across interiors and fashion respectively, offering original inspiration to accommodate all kinds of projects and aesthetics. The team are experts in their field, and enjoy discovering new pieces everyday in the studio, including these ikat robes, which originate from Uzbekistan and feature eye-catching patterns in vibrant colours.

Ikat robes

Textile preservation is increasingly important in today’s age, especially when many industries are digitalising their collections, meaning you cannot experience the touch of the fabric, the raised grain of the printed finished, or see its true colours online. Archival collections can provide knowledge of traditional crafts and ancient processes to develop further today. Learning from past decades of print and pattern work is an increasingly important concept in design. Within interiors especially, multiple brands and designers are now collaborating with archives of all sizes, seeking the inspiration they cannot find elsewhere.

WGSN Lifestyle & Interiors subscribers can delve into our new report with Baxter Mill Archive right here.


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