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On Textile Obsession


(An image of "base fabric", the fabric placed underneath a printed fabric to catch the excess ink. FRIED RICE designer MAYA collects base fabrics as inspiration.) 

The following is an excerpt from an interview with FRIED RICE designer MAYA on her passion for textiles and how that impacts the brand's collections: 

What is your relationship with fabric?

Ha, my favorite topic!

For as long as I can remember, I have always been obsessed with textiles. Even as a young student, when I would come across a fabric shop, or even some simple textiles at a flea market or garage sale, my heart would start beating faster, my palms would get sweaty … all that silly ‘falling in love’ stuff [chuckles].

It’s like breathing air or listening to music for me.

Where do you find the textiles that inspire you?

Well, from my perspective pretty much anywhere. While some people like to check out historic sites, or museums, or things like that when they travel, the first thing I want to do is get to a local bazaar and dive into the textiles. It’s a way for me to feel connected to the local culture and to be inspired.

Honestly, I have found amazing samples at local flea markets around where I live in the Lower East Side [of New York City]. You would be surprised … they come from all around the world. But I’ve been fortunate to explore markets in places like West Africa, Paris, London, Berlin, Shanghai and Tokyo. I am lucky … and truly grateful for these opportunities. 

My favorite kind of fabric to collect though is "base fabric". It's the fabric below a fabric being printed, which collects the excess ink during the print process. The result can be these beautiful abstract patterns that are in one way random and accidental, but also reflect a spontaneous artistic feeling. It's like my own kind of accidental or found art I suppose. 

How does the fabric obsession connect with the materials you use in your collection? 

Well, we like to bring not only the global fabric influence to the designs, but also the opportunities for great quality and an unexpectedly unique experience for the people out there wearing our clothing. We have dabbled fabrics from a variety of locations in the past, including the US, Europe and Asia. For these upcoming seasons we have incorporated a decent amount of cool Japanese fabrics into the mix. There is an unmistakable expression of quality, and of depth and texture that elevate the experience of wearing the clothing. As the brand grows, I look forward to expanding the origins and types of textiles we work with as well. We are already experimenting with incorporating improvements in sustainability, and I look forward to bringing these new innovations into the mix soon.