Josh Podoll’s Easy-to-Wear Eco Prints


There’s something instantly energizing about wearing prints but, despite being spring and summer’s biggest trend, I wasn’t inspired by the loud profusion of florals, polka dots, and leopard spots currently decorating this season’s fashion offerings.

That was until I saw the latest collection from San Francisco-based eco fashion line, Josh Podoll. Managing to achieve a painterly balance between the vibrancy of pattern and the serenity of a muted solid, the husband and wife team have designed a line of easy separates in hand-dyed organic cotton voile and silk featuring invigorating ikats and custom prints. I caught up with Lauren Berdell Podoll to talk about the inspiration for incorporating prints and the difficulty of finding eco-friendly print pieces.

Why do you think prints are difficult to find in eco fabrics and garments?

Perhaps because fabric mills who develop prints often use toxic inks or non-sustainable fabrics. Many large mills don’t believe the demand for prints on organic fibers is great enough for them to change over to natural dyes and natural fibers. Therefore, designers looking for eco fabrics are faced with the option of sticking to solids or developing their own prints. The latter can be cost-prohibitive especially for smaller, independent designers.

What influenced you to design a print-based collection?

Since its inception, Josh Podoll has been associated with hand-drawn graphics silk screened on garments, so it seemed like a logical step to develop a custom print for Spring 2010. We lean toward simplicity and minimalism, so our prints reflect that preference. The ikat-inspired print we employed this season is our interpretation of traditional weaving techniques.

What do prints add to the modern eco wardrobe?

Prints we develop add graphic punch and animation to the collection. The eye is drawn to them and we notice that they provide a sense of frivolity, balancing the minimalism of our silhouettes.

Describe the process in the creation of your recent prints?

We begin with putting pen or brush to paper – rather old-fashioned, but that’s the truth. Once we find a line or pattern that seems intriguing, we scan it and manipulate it to create a repeat in a scale that we like for creating garments. On the computer we experiment with color contrasts until finding the right tones. From there, the file is sent to our printer and they convert the image into a silkscreen used for textile printing.

Tell us about your relationship with the Indian factory you found to produce the latest collection?

Our collection is entirely designed and manufactured in the USA but we do source fabrics from other countries when necessary. Textile printing in the U.S. is virtually non-existent so we investigated international resources. We finally found a textile printer in India willing to develop prints for us on organic cotton voile and silk using low impact dyes and inks, so they won our business.

Have you encountered limitations due to your commitment to producing/only using eco fabrics?

Definitely! We often fall in love with textiles that are not organic or not sustainable in one way or another. But, we have noticed that having constraints often helps us focus during the design process. If you embrace your boundaries they can free up your creativity.

Josh Poddoll fashion line can be purchased from ecocitizenonline.

Rowena Ritchie

Rowena is EcoSalon’s West Coast Fashion Editor and currently resides in San Francisco, CA.