Inspired by nature's beauty, animal prints have transcended eras and cultures, adding a touch of untamed sophistication to every ensemble. In this blog post, we explore the rich history, diverse styles, and endless possibilities of these fierce and versatile patterns. 

What is the history of animal print fabric

Animal print fabric has a rich and diverse history in fashion, dating back centuries. Its use can be traced to ancient times when animal hides were used for clothing and accessories by various cultures for their functionality and symbolic significance. However, the adoption of animal prints in fabric as a fashion statement evolved over time. 

Early History

Animal skins and furs were used by ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans for clothing and adornment. Animal motifs were also common in textiles and decorations, depicting creatures like lions, leopards, and zebras.

Middle Ages and Renaissance

During the Middle Ages, animal prints were associated with royalty and the elite. Exotic animal skins were symbols of wealth and status, often used in royal garments and accessories. In the Renaissance era, explorations to distant lands brought back exotic materials, inspiring fashion trends that incorporated animal prints.

18th and 19th Centuries

Animal prints gained popularity in Western fashion during the 18th and 19th centuries. Leopard and tiger prints became fashionable in Europe, particularly among the upper class. However, these prints were not always accurate representations and were often stylized in artistic interpretations.

20th Century

Animal prints surged in popularity during the 20th century, especially in the 1920s. Designers like Jean Patou and Elsa Schiaparelli incorporated animal prints into their collections, making them more accessible to a wider audience. The 1960s and 1970s saw a resurgence of animal prints, associated with the bold and adventurous fashion of the era.

1980s and Beyond

Animal prints became synonymous with glamour and luxury during the 1980s, frequently used in high fashion by designers like Roberto Cavalli and Dolce & Gabbana. They continued to be a prominent trend in the following decades, evolving in style and popularity across various fashion movements.

Today, animal prints remain a versatile and enduring fashion statement. They are used in various forms—dresses, coats, accessories, and even in interior design. Designers continue to experiment with different interpretations and techniques, making animal prints a timeless element in the world of fashion.

Is animal print fabric still in style? 

Absolutely! Animal print fabric has remained a consistent and versatile trend in fashion. While trends come and go, animal prints have shown remarkable staying power, consistently making appearances on runways and in various collections year after year. Designers continually find new ways to reinterpret and incorporate animal prints into their designs, whether it's through classic leopard and tiger prints or more unconventional variations like snake, zebra, or giraffe patterns.

One of the reasons for its enduring popularity is its ability to add a touch of boldness and sophistication to outfits. Animal prints can be styled in diverse ways, from statement pieces like coats or dresses to subtler accents through accessories like scarves, shoes, or bags. They have the versatility to be both timeless and trendy, adapting to different fashion movements and personal styles.

Fashion enthusiasts and celebrities often embrace animal prints, showcasing their adaptability and ability to elevate any look. So, while trends may ebb and flow, animal prints consistently find their way back into the fashion spotlight, proving that they're more of a classic staple than a passing trend.

Zelouf Zebra Leopard Print on Charmeuse

Zelouf Zebra Leopard Print on Charmeuse

What are the different popular styles of animal print fabric? 

  • Leopard Print: A classic among animal prints, leopard print is versatile and can be found in various color combinations. It can be styled in different ways:
    • Statement Pieces: A leopard-print coat or jacket can be paired with neutral colors like black, white, or beige for a chic and bold look.
    • Accessorize: Leopard-print accessories like scarves, shoes, or handbags can add a pop of pattern to a simple outfit.

  • Snake Print: Often seen in neutral tones like browns, tans, or grays, snake print has a sleek and edgy vibe.
    • Dresses or Skirts: A snake-print dress or skirt paired with a solid-colored top can create an effortlessly stylish ensemble.
    • Shoes and Bags: Snake-print shoes or bags can be used as statement pieces to complement an outfit.

  • Zebra Print: Zebra prints feature black and white stripes and can be quite bold.
    • Monochrome Styling: Pair a zebra-print top with black or white pants or skirts for a striking monochrome look.
    • Mix and Match: Mixing zebra print with other patterns can create a unique and fashion-forward style if done thoughtfully.

cheetah print on velvet zelouf fabrics

Zelouf Cheetah Print on 75D Velvet in Olive

  • Tiger Print: Bold and vibrant, tiger print often incorporates orange and black stripes.
    • Subtle Incorporation: Opt for a tiger-print scarf or belt to add a touch of the print to an outfit without overwhelming it.
    • Contrasting Colors: Pair tiger print with solid colors that complement its tones, such as black, brown, or even orange, for a cohesive look.

  • Giraffe Print: Characterized by its irregular brown spots on a lighter background, giraffe print is distinctive.
    • Neutral Palettes: Style giraffe print with neutral colors like beige, tan, or cream for an elegant and sophisticated appearance.
    • Mixing Textures: Consider mixing giraffe print with other textures like suede or leather for added depth and visual interest.

  • Cow Print: Featuring black or brown spots on a white background, cow print has gained popularity for its playful and quirky appeal.
    • Edgy Accents: Incorporate cow-print accessories like belts, bags, or boots for a fun and edgy vibe.
    • Mix with Basics: Pair a cow-print top with black pants or a denim skirt for a trendy yet laid-back ensemble.

  • Mixed Animal Prints: Don't be afraid to mix different animal prints for a bold and eclectic look.
    • Subtle Mix: Pair a leopard-print blouse with a snake-print skirt or vice versa, ensuring the prints complement each other in color and scale.
    • Accessorize with Contrasting Prints: Consider wearing a zebra-print scarf with a tiger-print bag to add interest to an outfit. 

Zebra Paisley floral Zelouf Fabrics

Zelouf Zebra Paisley Floral on Hi Multi Chiffon in Mint/Gold

When styling animal print fabrics, it's often a good idea to treat them as statement pieces and pair them with simpler, solid-colored garments to let the print stand out. Mixing and layering different animal prints or combining them with other textures and patterns can also create unique and fashionable looks, but it's essential to balance the ensemble for a cohesive outfit.

Where can I buy animal print fabric? 

At Zelouf Fabrics, we offer hundreds of animal print fabrics available wholesale or by the yard. Shop the collection today! 

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