Starting out as an importer of digitally printed fabrics in 2014, Fabric Bank has developed into something much more. In 2016, after a noticeable gap in the market place, Fabric Bank introduced in-house printing for clients.
Owners, Shara and Bridgette, come from two different backgrounds but ultimately came together to create something that designers have been longing for. Shara began her career as an interior designer and realised her passion for fabrics and prints early on in her career. In 2012 she launched a wallpaper printing company; Design Mate, where she designs and prints bespoke wallpaper for the interior design industry. In 2015 Shara went on to work for Robin Sprong. It is here where Shara realised that there is need for a creative avenue for local designers and artists. “I've always been a bit obsessed with fabrics and noticed a huge gap in the market in South Africa where local designers had no access to designing, producing and developing their own designs and products”, says Shara.
Bridgette on the other hand started out studying Business Administration and later went on to start her own company in the food industry with the launch of restaurant Sirs in Houghton, Johannesburg and in the course of time, Bridgette decided to renovate the restaurant. People were impressed with her newly decorated space that she received an offer from a buyer and decided to sell the restaurant to pursue her career in interior design.
With her new found career, Bridgette decided to complete a design course with illustrator and continued to work in the corporate sector with one of her biggest clients being MTN. Through doing various corporate interior design projects, Bridgette started to design exclusive homes, “My biggest challenge came with the lack of creative fabrics that South Africa has to offer. I always like to think out of the box and I hated the limitation of creativity in the interior and fashion world”, says Bridgette.
She continues by saying, “There was an abundance of interior designers full of creativity but there was no platform or place to help designers to produce and develop their own ranges or products for the market. I was introduced to digital textile printing in Switzerland while visiting family and in 2016 Shara and I crossed paths again.” And hence, Fabric Bank was born.
Fabric Bank offers bespoke digital printing and specializes in direct textile printing for all types of applications, varying from clothing to upholstery. This unique business offering does not only close a gap in the South African market but aims to create a local and international platform for artists and illustrators to showcase their work and potentially cross over to other artistic and creative avenues. “We focus on the development of local design and aim to assist all our clients to achieve their vision. We offer a service and platform that go hand in hand and hope to be able to promote and discover as much untapped talent as possible”, says Shara.
Their vision on their shared workspace, Design Office, is simple: to create a hub of design for people from all creative backgrounds, which is affordable, in a hot spot design area and allows the tenants to be exposed to different aspects of design that they might not be familiar with. The Design Office will open its doors in February 2017.