Last week we explored two commonly confused art movements as they relate to textile design: Art Nouveau and Art Deco. This week, we’re continuing this series and discussing the difference between Contemporary and Modern. Read on to learn more!


Contemporary design represents the style of the moment. Accordingly, the contemporary look is not sharply defined: it is evolving over time. Contemporary design was acknowledged as a true style in the 1980s. There is often confusion in categorizing contemporary from modern, due to the fact that the contemporary look can draw its inspiration from any era, including the modern. It is eclectic and voguish, featuring hot new trends as well as revitalized retro crazes.

At the present time, contemporary textile design borrows from the minimalism and gender neutrality of modernism. However, these fabrics can often be stylistically identified by the bright color accents that vary with the latest seasonal fashions. For example, in recent years the neons of the 80s have resurged. Other contemporary color hits have been coral, turquoise, lime green, and orange. Contemporary pattern design has also been advanced by digital printing. Now we can create incredible watercolor effects and optical illusions.

Shop our selection of contemporary designs here.

WeaveUp contemporary custom fabrics


WeaveUp contemporary custom fabrics

Marble River

WeaveUp contemporary custom fabrics



While the term modern generally indicates an association with the present, within textile design it actually refers to a specific era of design. Emerging from the Bauhaus School in Germany, modernism spanned from the 1920s to the 1970s. This style developed as a rejection of the 19th century’s fervor for embellishment. As such, modernism is principally defined as a clean minimalism. Modern design promotes function over form and is intended to create an atmosphere of serenity.

Within fabric design, modernism showcased an era of two-tone patterns and geometric shapes, alongside a preponderance of straight lines and sleek curves. Color palettes trend towards bold black and white prints with the occasional pop of primary color.

Discover our modern prints here.

WeaveUp modern Custom fabrics

Gerald Geometric 4

WeaveUp modern custom fabrics

Turn Up The Music

WeaveUp modern custom fabrics


Check back next week for another installment of our Textile Design Guide!