Creative Process ~ Sonoran Dress

Blue Nude ~ Slow Fashion Brand - Sonoran Hand-Painted Dress


We consider the Sonoran Hand-Painted Dress our masterpiece. Developed over a span of two years, it took concentrated amounts of creativity, research, and planning to execute.

Sonoran is an elegant spaghetti strap dress, with a high neck and deep V-back. Cut in a sandy Tencel twill, it has drape and weight which allows it to follow the form of the body without being clingy.

We started sketching and developing artwork for Sonoran in spring 2020. We wanted to create an elegant dress that could serve as a canvas for artwork that exploded from the side in a psychedelic reaction.


Blue Nude ~ Slow Fashion Brand - Sketch of the Sonoran Hand-Painted Dress

An early sketch of the Sonoran Hand-Painted Dress.


Soon after, collaborating artist MET created a vibrant artwork with oil pastel, acrylic paint, and acrylic marker on tan coloured thick grade paper, called Effervescent Foliage.

In the painting, organic shapes and forms move with life before a setting sun and desert mountain horizon.

In winter 2022 MET came to our East London studio, where we finalized and painted our Sonoran pieces. We tried on our Sonoran prototype, highlighting areas where the artwork placement would be unflattering on the female form. Following, we identified key areas of the original artwork that could be translated onto the dress, and then 'placed' them as paper cutouts to identify where the artwork should be painted, and in what order. The acrylic paint used was custom mixed by MET, meaning we had to paint a layer at a time, across all dresses, to ensure the paint colours matched between the pieces. As well, we had to be careful to not layer too much paint, as it could cause the fabric to stiffen and lose its elegant flow. 


Blue Nude ~ Slow Fashion Brand - MET & Desert Bouquet

MET mixing acrylic and textile medium during sample painting in our East London Studio


The first stroke of paint was nerve-wracking - once it's on the fabric, there's no return. After a few days, we had finally painted our Sonoran masterpieces.

After painting the dresses, they were left to dry for 24 hours. Following, they were heat-pressed by iron to bind the textile medium to the fabric and allow them to be hand-washable.


Blue Nude ~ Slow Fashion Brand - Painting the Sonoran Hand-Painted Dresses

Sonoran Dresses near completion.


Sonoran's fabric is Lenzing Tencel Twill. Lenzing Tencel derives from renewable sources and is manufactured in a closed loop system. This means the process resuses almost all the chemicals used to process the fibre. Tencel is biodegradable, and the renewable sources used require much less land and water than what's needed for comparable materials.

Sonoran was manufactured at our local small-batch production studio in East London. They specialize in high-end production, working with many emerging designers and brands in the city. Each dress was made by hand in-studio by their talented seamstresses and cutters. It took over three hours to cut and sew just one dress.

Sonoran is limited run and small-batch, with only a handful produced.

You can purchase the Sonoran Hand-Painted Dress here.


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