‘Flocking’ is making a comeback.
Over its lifetime, ‘flocking’ has gone from grand to gauche according to the world of design trends but in 2018, the technique is making a comeback across a wide variety of industries including fashion, interiors and even modern medicine. The desire for texture and an urge for maximalism is prevalent as a backlash to the long-reigning minimalist trend, and flock coatings plays a large part.
The method of ‘flocking’ was first seen in China around 1000 BC., using chopped fibres on animal skin. By the 1200’s, Germany were using flocked fabrics and 400 years later, France saw the birth of flocked wallpapers. Depicted as a symbol of elegance, grandeur and wealth in the 17th Century, flocked wallpapers dwindled to nothing but a design cliché by the 1980’s and 1990’s. Electrostatically flocked floor coverings were discovered in the 1960’s in Chateau Renault and continue to be produced today.
As my role involves managing a flocked product – Flotex flocked flooring – I’m always keen to know more about how else flock is being used. Researching over the last six months, I’ve noticed a wide & creative use of ‘flocking’ across a spectrum of sectors, see below…
Researchers from the Institute of Textile Machinery & High Performance Material Technology and the Centre for Translational Bone, Joint & Soft Tissue Research of TU Dresden have successfully used electrostatic flocking to create textile scaffolds for tissue engineering of bone and cartilage.
Marten De Ceulaer used flock as a finishing coat to his 2012 Mutation furniture series, each piece made up of a selection of foam spheres that vary in size. The collection was created to look like it formed organically through cell mutation. Hinting at future technologies such as 3D printing and the idea of ‘growing’ our own furniture, this collection is still highly relevant.