How was the Jaque Mate print created?

The Jaque Mate print was created as a result of inspiration from one of our favourite 2020 series on Netflix.

The print name originates from the idea of "checkmate" in the game of chess. So how was a print inspired by a board game?

Last year, the world was brought together by being kept apart. Lockdowns rolled through different cities around the world throughout the year. While we all had to adjust to the “new normal”, everyone’s experience was different with a few common threads. Video calls, picking up a pipe-dream hobby and dropping it just as quickly and of course Netflix.

Coming from a background in costume design, I love delving into period dramas that clearly have a decadent costume and set design budget. Last year gave us The Crown and one of my other favourites, The Queens Gambit (if you haven’t watched it, start tonight).

The level of detail that went into the main character, Beth’s, costume almost distracted me from the plot. She goes through such dramatic character development and her make up and outfits played a huge role in showing her growth. I researched Beth’s transformation and found the hair and makeup designer would strategically replace her lipstick with the same colour as her mother’s to evoke a more mature figure. 

The production value and authenticity of the costume design took me back to my days interning on the set of Mad Men in downtown Los Angeles. The set designers had the hardest job and the largest budget. So everything looked authentic, they sourced vintage products and then replicated them. For example, a simple shot inside a fridge, required the set designers to research groceries from the 1960s and create exact replicas.

Back to the Queen’s Gambit, I was so inspired by the show and their use of the checked print – a knowing nod to the Chess board at the heart of the show. I was beginning to explore a chess print for HEW’s upcoming collection. Then I came across Mestre’s Chess artwork on Instagram – it was perfect. Her style lends itself to men and women, and I knew the linear composition from her tattoo background could effortlessly translate to screen printing. We usually print digitally on cotton, but the best results on the jersey knit of our loungewear requires special screen printing.

Moving in another direction from last year’s monochromatic Portrait print, Jaque Mate comes in vibrant colours of an orange-red and light blue combination. The highlight orange cord and brass gold toggle elevate the piece to high fashion loungewear.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our insight into the creation of HEW's Jaque Mate print. It's weird how in lockdown our inspiration comes from television series. Looking forward to sharing more of the design journey. Check out our interview with the artist Laura Mestre below,