Balmain spin-off Faith Connexion started showing a few seasons ago and has already gained a following. In their manifesto they say, “Just like the only obligation of an artist is to be free, Fashion needs to be free. Freed from Fall/Winter, Spring/Summer seasons, freed from multimillion-dollar shows, freed from flagship stores, and freed from star designers.” Style.com says that without the benefit of runway shows and all the rest, the brand has been quick to pick up retailers: Maxfield, Saks Fifth Avenue, Net-a-Porter, and Luisa Via Roma, for starters, and more coming soon. Shown here, the brand used graffiti to do one of a kind tags on jackets, tees, and tiny dresses. They seem to be setting the stage for art/fashion collaborations and making a bigger statement about the industry. Go them!
We all love to be engaged in our creative process. Here in our studio our favorite days are spent staring at flowers and carefully painting up some watercolors. But how do you make your designs sellable and appealing to print buyers, retail customers, your online audience, etc? Of course your personal touch and vision are the most important ingredient but it also helps to understand trends and directions that are happening in the marketplace constantly. This can be tricky if you’re not directly interacting with clients on a regular basis or if you don’t live in a big hub city like New York, London etc.
Time is also a big help in developing your understanding of marketplace needs. That is, you need to observe for a few seasons or years to develop a real sense of how to be current. When we first started out, our prints were too forward but as time went on, we learned how to be right in the moment. In other words, consumers are looking for something new and fresh, something that stands out to them. But, they also gravitate towards what is comfortable and familiar. We, as designers, must ride that fine line.
We’re thinking a lot about trends right now as we just wrapped up our Autumn/Winter 2016 Print and Color guide. So if you’re struggling with getting just that right feel with your prints, our overview will be a big help. When doing your own research, it’s important to know your target audience. Are you going for high end women’s wear, paper goods, or interiors? Having a niche helps as then you can hone in and research that market in an in-depth way. Our career guide Pattern Design & Beyond provides a more in-depth look at all the markets you can potentially target.
While you scour the internet, magazines, trade shows, art shows, etc. for images, at first glance many directions will look exciting and new. After a few seasons or years of this, you will start to spot the fresh and emerging directions. They will catch your eye and make you stop, think, and get your imagination going. If you begin to see more of what got you excited, that’s a trend! Even if you don’t, you could start one by designing in a direction that stirred your creativity.
To get a perspective from the sales side of things, we spoke to print rep. D. Matt Smith.
You’ll be showing the work of several print studios at Indigo Premiere Vision this week and you’re constantly meeting with print buying clients. What types of prints are clients asking for right now?
We are seeing a lot more hand drawn and painted designs coming through. Botanicals have been strong, textured stripes and plaids have continued to be super strong, and the mainstay ethnics are almost heritage for lots of brands now.
I think it has to do with the hand of a designer or studio. If it has a unique sensibility that is accessible to multiple clients, they tend to be the most successful. Also, if the design is a great concept and is ready as is with color etc, these typically are our strongest sellers.
Thanks Matt! What he is referring to, in terms of “ready as is in terms of color etc…” is that the print uses key colors so the client doesn’t have to think about how the pattern might work in a different color-way, and any other changes are minimal so the design is basically ready to fit into the client’s collection. In other words, it’s a print that has been developed thoroughly, with research done in terms of color and trend readiness.
– Claudia Brown
We’re always excited to see what Finnish designer, Kustaa Saksi, is up to. His latest collaboration with Ferragamo for the launch of its updated buckle collection features exotic creatures which move through hypnotic environments of playful color. Celebrating the connection between art and fashion, Saksi uses his graphic storytelling to bring the collection to life in vivid moving images and impactful layouts. Watch the full video below and be mesmerized.
Loving the geometric, letterform, all-around amazing street art explorations of Matt W. Moore!
This fall, Mira Mikati has teamed up with illustrator Craig Redman for her first eponymous collection. The designer, most known for designing with the Ç x Façonnable line, obviously wanted to enter the world of Darcel Disappoints to show a bit of a “high school day dream” sort of fun. The collab between Mikati and Darcel definitely did not disappoint…the silhouettes were as sophisticated as the graphics were silly.
See more of Redman’s work below.
– bekah hilleson
When you’re first starting out in print design, there are many challenges to creating prints that are both visionary and sellable. You are an artist with something to say, and you also want to make money doing what you love. It’s important to explore your own style for a period of time to allow your natural voice to emerge. Drawing and painting by hand is key. Creating repeats is another important step as you’ll start to learn the technical skills of print design. For a detailed look at the technical side of print repeats, check out Repeat After Me and our Video Tutorials.
When you have a sizable collection of patterns to look at (at least 50-100 prints depending on how developed they are), it’s a great idea to start to think about where they might fit into the marketplace. There is the huge apparel/accessories world (and within that many subsets). Then, there are the worlds of interiors, paper goods, beauty, and quilting. Our e-book Pattern Design & Beyond gets into more details on the marketplace.
Take a good look at your work. Is it whimsical and illustrational with conversational elements? Perhaps childrenswear and paper goods might be a good fit for you. Does it have a sophisticated look with flowing repeats? Then high end womenswear could be your niche. But what if you enjoy jumping around with styles and exploring new ones continually? This can work to your advantage as you have more of a choice about which market you might want to target.
When designing for interiors, longevity is key. Most home owners, business owners, and interior designers want to create a look that is unique yet timeless and classic for their interior. However, that’s not to say that the occasional loud pop of color and crazy pattern doesn’t make it into a modern interior. However, trends change much more slowly here and you could focus on quality rather than quantity. Unless creating a custom look, interior designers typically select from pre-existing fabric and wallpaper collections. For examples of how other designers do it, take a look at some of our favorite interior textile studios, such as Rebecca Atwood and Calico Wallpaper. You may decide to take the interiors route if you’re interested in printing or dyeing your your own fabric. Quality of print/execution is very important as objects like throw pillows and rugs will be in heavy use, often for years.
The apparel world is much faster. With seasonal deliveries including Spring, High Summer, Resort, pre-Fall, Fall, and Holiday, the fashion market has many opportunities to buy designs. Trends also change fairly quickly although we have found that certain trends stick around longer than anticipated. For example, tribal prints have been in vogue for quite some time and still continue to sell, as long as they are updated or modified each buying season. To work in the fashion industry it is important to stay on top of trends. There are trend services like WGSN or Fashion Snoops that offer comprehensive coverage while our targeted trend guides focus specifically on print and color.
Custom work is needed in both interiors and fashion so here’s where your unique style can really shine. It’s especially important to have a great portfolio that shows off your work and can attract clients. Sites like Squarespace, Wix and WordPress have tons of templates you can use to create a beautiful portfolio site. Community sites like Behance and Coroflot provide templates and plenty of built-in tools to help clients find you.
We’d love to hear from you. Which market(s) are you leaning towards and why?
Australian ceramicist, Ruby Pilven, mixes her love for printmaking into her hand-built, colored clay jewelry and dishes. Using the Japanese technique called, Nerikomi, which layers clay, Pilven creates colorful whimsical pieces, such as rings and necklaces, decorated with 12 carat gold patterns. Her neo-chintz creations aim to inject a touch of joy into daily life.
As the daughter of two ceramic artists, it’s no surprise that Pilven followed suit. She often arrives at her end result via chance, making her designs truly unique.
links from around:
Always in awe over anything from Timorous Beasties! The design team of Alistair Mcauley and Paul Simmons, met studying textile design at Glasgow School of Art and the rest is history. Their diverse studio creates prints ranging from extravagant florals to splashed on graffiti – nothing seems off limits for this duo and their boldness pays off!