Animal Prints in Textiles (10 most popular ones)

Different animal skin patterns used in fabric printing to imitate the look of real animal skin, like that of tigers, crocodiles, and cows and their trends in fashion.


Animal Prints are patterns inspired by the skin, fur, or scales of various animals. Wild animals are perceived as free, bold, unapologetic, and dangerous. The way they walk, stalk, chase, and prey in their kingdom is considered to be beautiful and sensuous. Even other animals that are more sedate are considered beautiful because of their closeness to nature. When humans want to embody the admirable qualities of animals, what is better than to wear the animal skin itself or something that resembles the animal skin.

When using animal skin smites at our conscience because of the cruelty involved, animal prints on fabrics are our next bet.

Animal prints are patterns on fabric that look like it is the skin patterns of different animals.

Animal skin has been used to make clothes since the stone age. Full animal skins were draped over the shoulders by proud owners and they were sewn into garments. But today people think twice, thrice, and many times over before they look for the real skin.

Wild animals have been hunted for centuries and this has resulted in most of them being extinct. Opposition from animal rights activists and public opinion turning against animal exploitation as well as regulations from governmental agencies has resulted in reversing this distressing trend.

In animal prints that try to mimic the originals, we have a nice alternative to look naturally wild and attractive. Animal prints have an undisputable sensuality that attracts designers to come up with beautiful garments.

Animal prints in fashion

Animal prints have been used in fashion to make clothing as well as accessories and also in home decor. Loungewear, tights, home decor, footwear, bags – there have been many applications of animal-inspired prints in fashion.

The craze for animal prints comes and goes depending on the trend of the times but they never wane off completely. As recently as in 2019 animal prints were very popular, but maybe not as much as it was fashionable in the late 2000s. But today not so much. Do not worry. Animal prints are very persistent. They can come back with a passion as soon as they are out of the door.

The most frequently used Animal prints are leopard, zebra, tiger, cheetah, snake, and giraffe. Each animal print, has unique color combinations, markings, and shapes, which make them stand out in fashion.

Types of Animal Prints used in Fashion

Cow Print

This print has big black splashes on a white background. The irregula spots resembles the distinctive pattern found on cowhide. This is used to bring a rustic and natural charm.

cow- animal prints

Cheetah Print

Cheetah print has small irregular black dots on a tawny background. This print is inspired by the coat of the cheetah, a fast and elegant big cat found in the jungle. Cheetah print is very popular in fashion as well as home decor, because of its bold, exotic and sophisticated look.

cheetah print

Crocodile Print

crocodile fabric print

This pattern consists of a series of small, square-shaped scales arranged in a uniform manner resembling the rugged skin texture of a crocodile’s skin. This is a favourite pattern for bags because of its bold and elegant look.

Dalmatian (Dog) print

This animal print has big black dots all over on a white background. This print gained immense popularity in the fashion world during the 1960s and 1970s. This is a trendy and playful pattern (also eye catching).

dalmation spots fabric prints

Giraffe Print

Giraffe print is a brown color surface divided into many sections with cream or white borders, mimicing the unique markings found on the skin of a giraffes.

giraffe print for textiles

Jaguar Print

Jaguar skin has small rosette shapes with one or more dark dots scattered inside inside

animal fabric prints

Leopard Print

Leopard skin is a light tawny color all over,  with small horseshoe/rosette/c shapes which has black borders and brown on the inside. 

animal fabric prints

Snake Print

The hide of a Snake is covered with shiny scales, so a print that resembles snake skin will have the same look of small scales. The small, shiny, and elongated scales arranged in a repeating pattern is very appealing. The sleek and exotic look of snake skin pattern is much appreciated in bag making materials and belts. 

snake animal prints

Tiger print

This print has thin long irregular stripes in black color on a tawny background, replicating the distinct markings found on a tiger’s fur. This forms a striking and eye-catching design and is timeless in its appeal.

tiger animal prints in textiles

Zebra Print

This animal print fabric will have long alternate stripes of black and white.

zebra animal prints

Faux animal prints (Abstract animal prints)

And then there are faux animal prints which are playful prints with different colors that follow the same patterns as the animal prints. They are not authentic replicas of animal skin, but playful imitations.

Considering that nowadays, most fabrics we use are not animal derived, there is less concern about using animal prints in fashion. Today’s animal prints are more affordable in faux leather and synthetic fabrics. With digital and sublimation printing, you can easily create fabric designs with these patterns. The Real animal-derived fabrics, which may involve animal cruelty, have given way to modern-day fabrics with animal-inspired patterns – as good or even better than the real thing.

Are Animal prints still in style?

Animal prints are a timeless style, so though the trends can vary, and some patterns may be more popular in one year than the other, incorporating small elements of animal prints is always welcome – if you like the bold and attention grabbing aesthetics. As I said, specific patterns may experience fluctuations in popularity from one year to another, and a lot of the out of trend prints may be considered tacky, even. This year the popular animal print seems to be Snake prints and Leopard prints, as you can read here and here. And, abstract animal prints in different colors are always trendy.

Related post : Animal fibers and fabrics ; 100+ fabric patterns – Names ; Fabric pattern repeats ; Indian fabric prints and patterns; 28 common Indian fabric motifs.

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Animal Prints in Textiles (10 most popular ones)”

  1. Believe it or not, I became a fan of Animal print in the early 90’s , which was when I was probably 12 or 13 years old & all I owned back then, was a set of Towels in Cheetah print, I Believe, One little Zebra print, Decorative pillow I kept on my bed & a Snake print Purse from Guess lol ( I still remember how much my poor mother paid for it, for me lol) – None of my friends back then liked Animal print & they all would tease me through the years ( in a cute funny way, not to be mean) I never stop loving Animal prints, & continued throughout the years buying different items in different animal prints. Cut to the present 2023…. I’m looking at Six Handmade/ Hand painted framed pictures in my living room ( I wish I could share a pic) each one is a different print, including paw print. I own many Duvet Covers in either Zebra print with a bright Color mixed in, Cheetah print, & One giraffe print in Hot Pink, Turquoise & Black. And lastly, I have 4 Giraffe Tattoos, One very large one on my forearm between wrist & elbow. That is very Beautiful, with Watercoloring I’m an influencer & have been for years, I also love digital art … And both feed my Animal print addiction lol – Animal Fashion Fashion, & I learned how to create Animal print patterns, that can be printed on Decor items, leggings, Face masks, Duvet Covers etc etc. – Anyone else out there, who can Top my addiction for Animal print?!? Id love to hear!

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