The beauty of jacquard - a short history

Our designer, Hanna Riiheläinen, shares the story behind the jacquard woven Shangri Dress, a technique which, you might be surprised to know, dates back to the early 19th century. Through various historical twists and turns, over many decades, this technique has developed from a manual weaving tradition into automated textile manufacturing of the Industrial Revolution, and eventually into our own modern day fashion scene.


R/H Shangri Dress, Jacquard Prints


Jacquard loom was named after its inventor, Mr. Joseph Marie Jacquard. Back in 1804 the Frenchman designed a machine for weaving decorative patterns that are made by using the Jacquard attachment on the loom. This attachment has a punch card with small holes, offering better design versatility and fabric control. The invention reformed traditions of textile design, and the mechanism is considered to be one of the most important weaving inventions of the 19th century.

At first the weaving technique was popular in tapestry, upholstery and interior decoration, and over time developed into clothing. For a long time the expensive material was an upper class privilege, but as fashion and textile industry evolved and industrialised, jacquard weave became more commonplace. Nowadays jacquard fabrics are widely used in clothing and accessories, yet considered luxurious.

The vibrant SS18 Leo Jacquard is made in central France, the city of Lyon. Also the FW18 Kuu Jacquard is manufactured in the same place, but with our own motif. Hanna Riiheläinen shares the story of R/H staple, the Shangri Dress:

"The first version of Shangri Dress appeared in our FW16 collection. We were visiting Hong Kong and Shanghai while designing the collection with Emilia. The Shangri silhouette is actually inspired by a kimono, but ours is a modern and more relaxed version of it. We wanted to create a multifunctional garment that can be used with a T-shirt and jeans as well as for festive events. There's a “wow"-factor and a hint of sexiness. It's important that women can feel confident, regardless of their shape, size or age.

Shangri Dress has transformed from flowing materials to soft jacquards. The belt is detachable, creating a power dress feel with a karate-styled waist. The future collection might include new variations, and the possibilities of jacquard are endless. The technique is inspiring and provides new ways of combining R/H prints to the materials."


R/H Designer Hanna Riiheläinen