When Jodie Comer’s pop-art-pyjamaed character, Villanelle strode through suburbia in episode one of the hotly anticipated second season of the BBC’s Killing Eve, viewers took to social media in their droves to try to locate the design.
It was quickly tracked down to Greater Manchester design studio and fabric printers Friedmans and their design manager, Nick Thomas was both bashful and excited about its starring role in the TV hit. “It was as much a surprise to us that our design ended up in the limelight. The fabric was ordered through our web-to-print portal and it only really came to our attention when we saw the interest on social media after the first episode had aired,” he says.
Friedmans operates a wide-ranging print production facility from its Altrincham offices and the initial order came from Killing Eve’s production company, Sid Gentle Films, via a retail web enquiry on the company’s Funkifabrics website. “We wholesale both printed and plain fabrics, so our enquiries can be for something as small as half a metre of material right through to run lengths in their thousands of metres,” says Thomas.
Recent expansion into larger premises and significant investment in a suite of nine Mimaki textile printers has afforded the capacity, and equally as importantly, flexibility to deliver high quality textile print with a fast turnaround. “We can upscale and downscale our print capacity to match demand,” he continues. “Whether it’s printing hundreds of short runs or delivering substantial single jobs across multiple machines, we’re able to accurately match colour from computer monitor through to production.”
This accuracy of colour matching comes down to a combination of factors, says Thomas. “Over and above the reliability and consistency of the Mimaki printers, we’re using custom AVA software to match output across the range of Mimaki engines. This also ties into other innovative web-to-print capabilities that we use in the business, enabling customers to accurately create their own colourways for designs within our furnishings fabrics range.”
Marketed under the Alexander Maverick brand, Friedmans’ “Colour Me” tool empowers interior designers to recolour and scale a range of contemporary textile designs before having them printed to cotton and linen cloths, all available to buy by the metre.
Back to the Killing Eve pyjamas and Thomas is happy to see British textile design and manufacturing enjoy the limelight on a global stage. “We were delighted to see the print receive such a positive reaction – especially as the show is so synonymous with great costume design.”
Produced on one of Friedmans’ Mimaki TS300 dye sublimation printers (purchased through authorised Mimaki partner, R A Smart), the print was then transferred using a rotary heat press onto a polyester-lycra blend fabric from the high-end Italian manufacturer, Carvico, for whom Friedmans are the UK distributor, before being sent to the client where it was cut and sewn into the one-off garments. Multiple colourways were provided to enable the similarly styled pairs to be produced for the two cast members and the show’s costume designer, Charlotte Mitchell has been quoted as saying the stretch fabric was specified to ensure for the purposes of the storyline, they appeared 'tighter and tighter' and therefore too small on Comer.
Thomas concludes, “Friedmans continues to grow as a business, reaching out to an ever more varied customer base, thanks to our ongoing investment in wide format textile print technology and software - and being able to combine it with a forward-thinking workflow that’s focused on on-demand delivery for customers big and small. The pyjama fabric is a perfect example of what can be achieved when great vision and design come together – it’s tremendously satisfying to see such an impactful end result. We’re continuing to partner with our e-commerce experts to push that side of the business forward and anticipate further growth on the back of it.”