The New York Times recently profiled Antiktex, a document swatch house that provides antique and vintage fabric samples from the 17th century to the 1960s to today’s designers. The family run business buys up stock from dying textile mills worldwide. The VP of the company, Alexandre Heget, leaves us with an interesting point to ponder:

“People from India and China come here and buy everything and copy it exactly,” he said. “Even Swedish designers spend $25,000 a year with us because no one in Sweden has a library like ours.”

Some designers replicate the patterns; others adapt them. “You cannot invent anything,” Mr. Heget said. “Everything is already done.”

Via Fibercopia.


  1. That place is amazing! I have been to see their collection in person – in my previous life in NYC. At the time, I didn’t understand how wonderful an opportunity it was! There are a number of amazing resources in NY like this. They are hidden away from the prying public – like me – now :)

  2. rosa says:

    Wow! So this is what “documentary swatch house” means. I was really intrigued by this since that sad Amy Butler episode two years ago. Thank you for sharing :)

  3. Vanessa says:

    The documentary swatch houses are interesting, aren’t they? The whole idea of designers replicating/embellishing old design is as old as design itself – but is it right, though? We have asked ourselves many a time after selling a lot of our inventory to international designers who come out with new ranges regularly…we see our vintage fabric designs stet or altered in some way…but still very much recognisable to the both of us. I often wonder how ‘original’ these ideas…and how the original designers of the vintage fabric must feel :(

  4. jordana says:

    i love vintage fabric but it bugs me that so many designs are just recolors of old things. it would bother me a whole lot less if more designers would bill things as “repros” if that’s what they are. i have to admit that it also makes me wonder if my plan to go back to school for textile design is even worth it…