In 2017, textile designer and fashion entrepreneur Amy Voloshin founded the sleepwear brand, Printfresh. Amy hand paints the designs for her fabrics which are then hand-screenprinted and sewn by Printfresh’s partners in Jaipur.
Amy draws her inspiration from plants, animals, and home decor, reflecting those passions in her designs. In this interview, she shares about what first sparked the idea to found her own brand, an inside look at how her designs ‘brought to life’ and a sneak peek at a new collection coming this fall.
You graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in Textiles. When did your interest in fashion and textiles first begin?
I have always loved fashion and textiles ever since I was very young. My family loved antiquing and I would amuse myself by digging through piles of fabric and looking for the quirkiest things I could find to pass the time while they were on the hunt for more serious items. I continued to have a love of patterns all through my early life and ended up studying textiles in college. It was the perfect blend of art and fabric, and as a result, my work was always focused on fashion and eccentric home textiles.
When did you first come up with the idea to found your own brand?
I had been working behind the scenes for a variety of big fashion companies before I started a textile studio. I did that for 10 years selling patterns to the textile industry and had a vintage archive that I would sell to top fashion design houses. About 5 years ago, I became curious about how we could turn my love of pattern and my unique aesthetic into something that could be sold more directly. I started experimenting with ideas, first starting a line of dresses, then making textile-covered stationery items. But everything started to align when I began to work on some ideas for pajamas – it was the perfect garment to showcase my love of color and pattern. Once we launched the pajamas everything really took off.
What’s the story behind the name Printfresh?
It was very simple; my friends who helped me come up with the idea to start a textile design studio said to me “It should be called Printfresh, and you can just make really fresh designs.” That was back in 2006, and I never imagined that such a quick decision for a small print studio would become the name of my brand today. But the prints are very fresh and unique, so it stuck with me!
How do your surroundings serve as an inspiration for your designs?
I think everything can impact your creativity. Travel has always been inspiring to me – I love seeing animals and plant life that I don’t typically see. These days since we haven’t been able to travel, my surroundings have informed many of the motifs in our upcoming collections. My husband and I bought an old fixer-upper on the coast in southern New Jersey that’s an old vineyard. The plant life here is amazing, and we have several patterns coming up that depict the salamanders, hydrangeas, and grapes from the vines that have become part of my landscape. I also love the antique shops around here, and I’m always looking for funny ceramics and quirky inspiration when I’m out antiquing.
Your sleepwear is hand screen printed and sewn in Jaipur. Tell me about the design process for creating one of the collections at Printfresh.
I work with a designer who has an illustration and printmaking background so we make a great team. She will paint motifs in gouache and then we will work together on the computer to develop the colors and perfect the scale. Since we both have so much experience with silk screening, we are able to conceptualize colors easily and can anticipate what the designs will look like on fabric. Our designs often have a lot of colors in them, so we really work to get it right before sending it to the printing team in Jaipur. Then, they create the screens, mix dyes to match the colors in our printouts and make an initial print onto fabric for us to review. Once we approve the initial strike-offs (or test prints), the team will start to print initial yardage to make our first garment sample which is always incredibly exciting.
Prior to COVID-19, how closely did you work with the India-based manufacturers?
We typically traveled to India twice a year and each trip would be about 20 days long, so we had a lot of time to work in the factory and refine our designs there with the team. I’m so thankful that we got to take those trips and it’s certainly been beneficial to have had the chance to develop such strong working relationships before having to make the switch to working so remotely.
Out of the 12 prints currently available from Printfresh, which print (or prints) is your personal favorite?
Will you be releasing new collections in the coming year?
Yes, we have some really amazing new designs launching in the fall – there is an incredible artichoke and asparagus print, and I’m especially excited about a new embroidery featuring houseplants that I hand-stitched the original artwork for.
What is your favorite way to relax while wearing your Printfresh sleepwear?
I love baking with my kids while wearing comfortable Printfresh pajamas, or lounging around watching Netflix (currently watching the Halston show – it’s fascinating! I never really knew that much about him but he was one of American’s top designers).
Who are some of your fellow female entrepreneurs who inspire you?
There are so many! I love Aurora James of Brother Vellies; her designs are stunning and her combination of working with African villages to produce high-end pieces as well as her commitment to social justice is so incredible. If you haven’t read about her 15% pledge please do – she’s called upon the world’s largest retailers to dedicate 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses. She’s created incredible change in the fashion, home, and beauty industries. I also adore Joy Cho, who is a friend from way back when she lived in Philly. She has been an incredible activist during the past year, and I’ve always been so impressed with her clear vision, work ethic, and ability to combine her loves into what she does, whether it’s writing books, curating fun patterns in her closet, or designing collections of new products for top retailers.