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Using Trend Services in an Authentic Way

“Painting” by Patrick Goossens

In January 2014, I was thrilled to begin offering Stylesight access to designers in some of our workshops and courses. Stylesight is a fantastic resource that makes it a bit less overwhelming for designers to find the trend recommendations that influence their work. But when using trend services such as Stylesight, many designers are unsure how to know what trends to fully embrace and which ones to only be aware of. After using trend services throughout the years, I have developed a few tricks to applying their recommendations without losing my style or losing focus on what the end-use consumer wants and needs.

Here are some tips to help you use trend services effectively and advantageously in your design efforts:

1. Start with the Megatrends.

Stylesight releases several overarching trend reports, which are called Megatrends, for every season. Then, as the season progresses, they release smaller, more specific reports for various markets and applications, such as print + graphics. For those of you with Stylesight access you can see the release schedule under: Forecast>Forecast Timeline. My experience shows that designers, including myself, create more unique, authentic patterns when they use the overarching reports because they are free to interpret trends in their own way. There are situations where seeing patterns and graphics can actually stunt your creative spirit, limiting your vision for the trend and where it could possibly go.

2. Think like a professional designer.

Ask yourself: how can I interpret these trends for my customer? Your customer may not wear the patterns or the inspiration pieces being shown, but how can you interpret this trend story so that it resonates with your customer? Could you modify the trend through color simplification or changing the artistic technique being used?

 

3. Don’t attempt to do it all.

You do not need to incorporate each and every trend into your collection or portfolio. The most important aspect to focus on is what is right for you and your customer. If you are not drawn to a trend that Stylesight is forecasting then simply acknowledge that it might be perfect for another customer, designer, or market, and then move on with your research.

 

4. Take your research to the next level.

If a trend or inspiration image resonates with you, do additional research and explore the trend in a new way. Don’t just copy what you see in front of you–investigate! For example, if Stylesight’s Dissonance trend resonates with you, then search Google or through the online archives at the V&A museum for similar patterns. As a standard, most designers find more inspiration from historic pieces than runway photos; plus you’ll learn the root or heart of the trend, which will help you gain a valuable perspective.

 

Narrowing down your trend influence as much as possible will help eliminate “design overwhelm” when the design process begins. Try choosing one very specific trend as your inspiration for your apparel collection. If you have any additional tips to share I would love to read them in the comments below.

Enjoy the process!

Selling Textile Designs with Pat Nugent

Marketing

Each month in The Textile Design Lab we welcome an industry expert who offers training in their area of expertise. This month our guest expert has been Pat Nugent, the founder and president of Patricia Nugent Design & Textiles, and a fashion and textile trade expert. You can read more about Pat in our interview here.

In today’s excerpt from her 17-page training PDF, Pat talks about the various ways of marketing and selling prints, focusing on bringing the customer in to your studio, and visiting the customer at their offices. In the full version available in The Textile Design Lab Pat also discusses tactics for presenting at trade shows and the differences in buyer behavior between trade shows and in-office appointments. Enjoy this free excerpt!

 

Self marketing for artists and designers is often the biggest obstacle to business success. It is very hard to do. But it is a learned skill so is possible to accomplish with effort and a thoughtful approach.

 

My experience

Owning an independent business like Patricia Nugent Design and Textiles has allowed me to learn about sales and marketing through a hands on approach. Having bought Sarah Truitt Textiles in 2005 and then Christine Greiner Designs in 2008 I jumped right in to self marketing from day one. My perspective is informed by also having been a customer of Sarah’s and Christine’s, as well as many other studios, during my 25 years in the apparel business prior to 2005. I can think about what I liked as a customer and what worked to find brand right prints and patterns. It helped having years of experience in Merchandising and Design on the inside of brands, where we “sold” our design and product concepts to company owners, sales people, key accounts and investors.

 

Selling your work

The business has changed and continues to evolve so that alone takes thoughtfulness about how to adjust to the changes. What you plan to do one season to self market may need to be adjusted the next season. We all have multiple opportunities to present and sell designs. This actually makes it easier to be successful even though it may add confusion at first. There may be one approach you are most comfortable with and others less so but together it all balances out and makes for a less risky plan, overall.

Your choices are four, as we see it:

1. Invite customers to come to your studio

2. Go to your customers’ offices for appointments

3. Send customers your designs on approval (this is based on mutual trust) either digitally or the actual prints

4. Participate in the trade shows for our industry

 

Continue reading–download a free excerpt of the training here. You can access the full 17-page training and all of our Textile Design Lab courses and members-only content by joining today.