Silk screening is a method for printing that was first developed in China during the Song Dynasty around 1000 AD it spread across Asia and finally found wide acceptance in Europe in the 18th century when the silk mesh needed in the process became readily available there. Silk Screening has a number of advantages over the newer digital printing processes when working on heavier silk twill as is customary for scarves. Because the dye is pressed into the material to be colored it will be absorbed into the fabric allowing the dye to color both the front and back sides of the silk scarf. Thus you can tie your scarf with less of a visible difference between the front and back than if the scarf had been created using the digital process.
The silk screening process is a great deal of work with each color in a scarf having to be printed individually using a screen created just for that color layer. The colors are layered on with the smallest details printed first then working to up the biggest such as the background and border colors. A complex scarf could easily need twelve or more screens and some as many as thirty or more. Once the colors are all applied and the dye set the scarf needs to have the edges finished. Each side is hand rolled and stitched taking as long as forty minutes for a seamstress to complete the hem on one silk scarf. Creating a scarf this way is far more time consuming and expensive then the digital printing option, but the luster and vibrancy makes it worthwhile.
L. Lavone looked to the traditional silk production center of Como, Italy to find a factory founded in the 1860’s to create our silk screened scarves. The area of Como became famous for its silk because the climate is ideal for the mulberry tree needed to farm silk worms and an abundance of water needed in textile production. Today the raw silk is now imported from Chinese silk worm farms, but the textile industry is still thriving in Como weaving and printing silk for fashion houses like Prada and Versace.