Inspired by all things bally and dance … ‘pop dance’ is a bit of a celebration. Bright neons mixed with skin tones make for an exciting colour palette. Use spots and stars, texture and cute illustrations to create a lovely collection. -Claire Carey
December 2, 2013
November 12, 2013
We spied a terrific trend emerging on the Spring ’14 runway and loved its simplicity–black outlines on white or cream ground. Take a look at our Pinterest board on the topic to see how the designers put this trend into practice, from loose and sketchy marks to detailed, vaguely tattoo-like florals. A fun and quick way to try out this trend is contour drawing, putting pen or pencil to paper and drawing an object in a continuous, unbroken line, like the face sketch in the images above. Interesting shapes can emerge when you make the decision to keep your pen on the page instead of lifting between strokes, and can make for beautiful abstract designs or just an interesting way to capture details like creases and shadows. The subject matter on the runway ranged from highly stylized Art Nouveau-inspired florals at Anna Sui, to loose and layered doodles of swirls, faces and gridlines at Cushnie et Ochs that felt like they could have been pulled from many an artists’ sketchbook. Have a sketchbook filled with black outlines lying around? Scan a few and see how they can be combined and layered to form a unique standout print for your portfolio. -Chelsea
November 6, 2013
In my opinion, one of the strongest trends of the Spring ’14 season are the use of desaturated color palettes. Muted florals were seen at Zimmermann, Hermès, Emporio Armani and Marni, while Antonio Marras featured soft, painterly landscapes. Jeremy Laing and Celine took the trend in a slightly different direction by applying the desaturated palettes to abstract textures and nature-inspired motifs.
If you are developing patterns for Spring ’15, think about how you can evolve this trend for your customer. You could add a bright pop color or apply the muted palette to other motifs, such as dots, plaids or geometrics. A great place to start is with the colors on the left side of the Spring ’14 Pantone palette. Then add different hues, tints, shades and tones to make the palette your own.
For more inspirational images, including the runway shows listed above, please visit our Muted Days Pinterest Board.
We would love to see your muted days inspired pattern. Tag it #patternobserver #muted days on Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook.
October 29, 2013
October 9, 2013
Images via: (Clockwise from top left) “striped ceiling” by liz west, “The Upright stripes” by the great 8, “013/365 Stripes” by Oscar Castañón Barragán, “Stripes” by Peter Taylor, “Stripes” by Kevin Dooley, “Stripes” by Hubert Figuière, “Bar Code Building” by Ewan Munro
Stripes are nearly always in demand in one form or another, whether they be horizontal, vertical or diagonal, thin or thick, regimented or uneven. On the Spring ’14 runway we noticed a very specific type of stripe appearing time and time again–horizontal stripes of varying widths. Designers such as Emilia Wickstead, Peter Som and Cédric Charlier played with scale and spacing to create dynamic striping effects that almost felt like a graphic extension of the ombre trend. Stripes already provide such a bold visual impact and this fresh approach really drew me to the trend.
September 25, 2013
Post by Claire Carey. Images via: Supertrash, Fable Baby, Smallable, Stella McCartney, Flamingos & Dominoes via Bambinogoodies, Anthropologie, Bonbi Forest, Eadweard Muybridge, Stella McCartney, Babiekins
“… Only the Horses (and a few zebras!) – a fun story with screen print, collage and photographic images that capture horses galloping and standing. A beautiful colour palette that is slightly sun-bleached and girly.”
August 19, 2013
Children love playing in the rain, splashing around in puddles and chasing rainbows, it’s playful and fun and this trend captures that. Simple shapes, graphic lines and dots mixed with cute illustrations.
August 5, 2013
Post by Claire Carey. Images via: Babiekins Magazine, Alittle pocket, Kid World Citizen, Anorak Magazine, Niki Jones, Donna Wilson, Seed Heritage, Scotch & Soda, Fine Little Day and Sanna Annuka, Scotch & Soda
This trend story is inspired by beautiful folk stories with strong colours and bold illustrations. Mix it up with different layers and textures for a fresh urban edge.
July 15, 2013
Inspired by stories, patterns are created with illustrations, characters and habitats. Creating a magical world surrounded by trees and nature.
June 17, 2013
This trend story celebrates everything that children love about mark making. Simple, bright and free. Painterly textures are playful, bold and simple.
June 11, 2013
It is Pattern Industry Month here at Pattern Observer, in honor of our 2013 Pattern Industry Survey. If you haven’t had a chance to fill out the survey yet, be sure to head on over to the survey page and tell us about your experiences in this industry!
This month we are sharing the work of some seriously talented designers, and diving into all the incredible ways in which patterns can be used. I am amazed daily by the new and inventive ways designers find to use patterns in their work. For many of us in this industry, our designs exist in two dimensions, but technology is beginning to open up the possibilities to include new ways of integrating pattern and 3D forms. One such technology is the recent explosion of 3D printing. The possibilities of 3D printing are seemingly limitless, and today’s interview will shed some light on an exciting niche in this burgeoning industry. Let me introduce you to The Sugar Lab, a Los Angeles-based design firm run by my dear friends, Liz and Kyle von Hasseln. The images you see here are edible–they are created with 3D printed sugar! Read on to learn more about their awesome work.
Tell us a bit about The Sugar Lab. What is a typical day like for you in the studio?
We run The Sugar Lab out of our live/work space in Silver Lake, CA. Kyle and I spend most of our day sitting next to each other at a long built-in plywood desk, hunched over our trusty MacBook Pros. All of our work is custom, so a given day really depends on who we’re working with at the time, and where we are in the process. Each project starts by talking to a client about what they’re excited to see in sugar. After some brainstorming and messy hand sketching, we work to translate our ideas into 3D digital models. The modeling process is fairly involved, so that’s how we spend the largest percentage of our time (hence the hunching). When everyone’s excited with the concept, we’ll do some test printing to make sure the geometry works well in sugar, and then we’ll start to print the final pieces. 3D printing in general is kind of a magical process, so it’s always fun to see the geometry emerge in sugar, after considering it on the screen for so long.
Could you tell us about the process of printing a sugar model?
If you’ve ever made frosting and left the mixing bowl in the sink overnight, you know that moistened sugar gets quite hard. That’s the underlying concept of 3D printing with sugar. We use a mixture of water and alcohol, applied very precisely in a layer-wise manner, to selectively wet and harden the sugar substrate. The process is fundamentally similar to other 3D printing applications, we’ve just optimized the process for resolution and strength with sugar, rather than with a standard 3D printing material.
Are there any limitations to what you can create due to the properties of sugar? How does the material influence the way you design?
There definitely are design limitations. Sugar isn’t as strong as 3D printed plastic, for example, prints that are too top heavy could break under their own weight. Our backgrounds in architecture have helped us to develop design instincts for integrating structural and facade elements into single 3D printed sugar sculptures. There are also more secondary design elements related to 3D printing sugar like color, taste and surface texture that come into focus when you work with sugar. People have expectations about what food looks, tastes, and feels like, and its really important to hit those notes, otherwise you have a cool design, but it might not look like dessert.
What made you decide to use sugar?
It was your birthday!! Chelsea, I should probably explain, is Kyle’s brother’s girlfriend and our great friend. A few years ago, when Kyle and I were still in grad school, Chelsea’s birthday was coming up and we really wanted to bake her a cake, but we didn’t have an oven in our tiny Echo Park apartment. So we decided to try to 3D print a cake for her, instead. It took some trial and error, during which we missed Chelsea’s actual birthday (sorry Chel!), but we managed to print a simple cupcake topper that spelled out ‘Chelsea’ in cursive sugar. She loved it so much that we started seriously considering how interested other people might be in 3D printed sugar. When we graduated, we decided to start a mini design firm for 3D printing custom sugar.
What would you consider to be your greatest achievement so far in your business?
The most exciting project we’ve tackled yet is probably one that we’re working on currently–we’re very excited to be collaborating with some seriously talented cake artists at a well-known bakery in Hollywood to design a four-tiered wedding cake with a 3D printed sugar cake-stand, and 3D printed sugar-tiers supporting cake tiers. It will be a traditional cake silhouette in which sugar plays anything but a traditional role. That’s an exciting part of 3D printing sugar for us–transforming sugar into a structural, sculptural medium that can start to define the form of the food instead of the other way around, and even to support it structurally.
Do you have any advice for designers who are just starting out and looking to find their niche in the design world?
We got some really good advice from one of our professors once. She told us that the key to getting satisfying work as a designer is to just pick something–anything–that isn’t already a huge design category, and just start designing that.
May 28, 2013
May 13, 2013
“funky, hip, a bit ‘out there’, very grown up and also very current (think the Met Ball in NYC last weekend!). This punk trend is line drawings, black, painterly lines, quirky figures and illustrations with a lot of neon” – Claire
April 29, 2013
*post by Claire Carey, images via (clockwise): Anive for the Minors, Molo, Le Train Fantome, Lucky Boy Sunday, Kanelimaa, 7781 shop, Maileg, Babiekins, mimilou, Fairytale Jubilee ( Rena Durham Photography for Babiekins Magazine)
A strong colour palette, geometric prints mixed with stripes and circus illustrations – lots of fun & very playful. A little bit of the unexpected and theatrical.- Claire
April 15, 2013
April 2, 2013
Following trends is just plain fun after you give yourself a few seasons to sit back, relax and enjoy the show. It is so interesting to look what is currently selling, what is on the runway and then try to anticipate how the current trends will evolve and mature over the next few seasons. For example, the waist has been a point of interest for quite some time. Textile designers accentuated the waist through waist-flattering engineered prints (hello mirroring trend) and apparel designers highlighted the waist through darts, details and other feats of apparel construction. So where is this trend heading? Well to me, it appears there is a divide in the fashion world so you have your pick: the shoulder or hem.
From Valentino to Miu Miu this divide was seen across the recent Fall ’13 shows and varied in its execution. Shoulder emphasis was seen at Valentino, Marios Schwab and Louis Vuitton, while eye-catching hemlines were featured at Miu Miu, Jonathan Saunders and again at Louis Vuitton. For us, the textile designers and artists of the industry, the way in which this trend was executed is even more exciting.
Beautiful scalloped edge detailing, like these options from Valentino, which you can see on our Pinterest page (here and here), are a fun way to accentuate shoulders and hemlines for Spring ’15. If your client or customer can’t afford engineered printing or details, get creative and interpret the trend in a fun way, like the print seen above (top-right) from Schatzi Brown. Surrounding it you’ll also see a few other scalloped edge images that I thought you may find inspiring and beneficial to your work.
If the scallop trend is a little too sweet for you or your clientele, try experimenting with a more rugged, faded look, like this example on our Pinterest page from Louis Vuitton. If this is more your style, take inspiration from some of the images found below. Make this trend your own and enjoy the process! I hope you found this helpful and as always, please let me know how this trend influenced your work. I love hearing from you!
To see more examples of this trend for Fall ’13 please visit our Pinterest page!
March 25, 2013
Funky and slightly grown up – Rock Chick style. Textured patterns and illustrations with a little bit of attitude … lots of fun.
March 4, 2013
A hot and hazy summers day, a picnic with friends in a field full with wild flowers. This trend is an eclectic mix including; ditzy flower prints, paisleys, illustrations, hearts, dip-dye and spirograph … anything goes. A slight 60′s vibe that is whimsical and playful.
P.S. The Sellable Sketch Workshop begins March 11th and there are still a few spaces available. Join us for this six week intensive!
February 18, 2013
*images via vogue.com
I am so excited to see some new print trends emerging on the Fall ’13 runway! I love moody, textural prints, but it is about time we had some new prints in the mix. Right? Some of my favorite concepts can be seen in Matthew Williamson’s Fall collection, including: bayaderes (those of you in the Pattern Observer courses will recognize this from last month’s Chelsea’s Challenge) and holographic embroidery. The dip-dye and jewel prints continue trends that we have seen for the past season or two, but they both appear a bit softer and laid-back than in the past.
If you are interested in developing a print collection of your own, then please check out this free series on developing a collection for your portfolio, or consider joining me for The Sellable Sketch Workshop. Registration opens next week and I expect it to sell out quickly. Register for the wait list here.
February 4, 2013
Children’s imaginations run wild when they think of a forest at night … what creatures will appear? This is a fun, trend story which is a little bit ‘dark.’ Illustrated images, a strong narrative and a darker colour palette with a pop of bright colour.
January 21, 2013
“Pops of bright candy colour work beautifully with simple geometric shapes. This trend is energising and playful, a mix of placement prints and repeat patterns create a fun story.”
January 14, 2013
*images via: Mother of Pearl Spring ’13 via style.com, “Musée de la Toile de Jouy” by Marilane Borges, “Toile” by Anthony Easton, Duro Olowu via style.com, Ruffian Spring ’13 via CHRISTOPHER MACSURAK, “Musée de la Toile de Jouy” by Marilane Borges
Welcome to the week fellow designers! We started noticing toile out and about last year (see our March Street Pattern post), but the evolution of toile, as seen at the recent Spring ’13 shows, is so exciting! Toile is now being paired with stripes and florals and comes in a range of vibrant and explosive colorways. The highlight of the toile parade has to be Mother of Pearl’s spring collection. We featured our favorite piece (top-left) above, but I encourage you to check out the entire collection here.
Etsy also recently featured the work of Richard Saja, an amazing textile artist who is famous for “embroidering bright and fanciful embellishments on top of historic toile patterns.”
So what is your take on toile? Deconstructed? Embellished? If you have recently created or purchased a toile pattern feel free to share it on the facebook page.
Have a great week!
January 7, 2013
* images via: Jeremy Scott Spring ’13 via style.com, “Three faces” by ismomalle, “Crowd” by James Cridland, Bebe Spring ’13 via style.com, Christopher Kane Spring ’13 via style.com, “seeing green” by Katie Tegtmeyer, Proenza Schouler Spring “13 via style.com
I have been asked by several students if there is a trend site or blog that focuses on graphic placements in the textile design world. I have yet to find one, but I think it is a fantastic idea for anyone out there who wants to run with it! So..when Chelsea spotted this “faces” trend on the spring runway, I thought it was perfect for those of you who are in need of some graphic inspiration.
The trend is widespread, from photorealistic to abstract, and was all over the spring runway. Chelsea counted 10 brands with face images being used, including: Aquilano Rimondi, Bebe, Christopher Kane, Custo Barcelona, Dolce and Gabbana, Fashion East, Jeremy Scott, Maki Oh, Proenza Schouler and Viktor & Rolf. That is quite the lineup!
Remember, unless your target customer is the trendiest of the trendy, the runway is a great place to look for inspiration. If a print style or graphic is popular on the runway, this doesn’t mean that the trend will not be popular in more affordable markets in a year or two. Just think about how long the owl trend has been around. So if this trend interests you, think about how you can interpret it in your own style and in a way that speaks to your customer.
Have a great week! – Michelle
December 10, 2012
Running through the grass on a windy day, arms stretched out-wide pretending you’re a bird soaring in the sky. This trend story is all about freedom and movement using space with smaller detailed images. The colour palette is simple and muted with a pop of colour used sparingly to add diversity.
December 3, 2012
*post by The Pattern Observer team, images via: Cacharel Spring ’13 via style.com, “Shattered” by Eljay, Aquilano.Rimondi Spring ’13 via style.com, “Shattered 4” by Philip Bitnar, Giles Spring ’13 via style.com, “Safety glass” by Martin Sutherland, Tibi Spring ’13 via style.com, “Radiate” by ~My aim is true~, Miu Miu Spring ’13 via style.com
Welcome to the week! I hope you enjoy this shattered trend that we found really interesting. There are so many different ways to interpret this trend: clean, vector fragments, abstract photoshoped prints, collaged pieces or charcoal sketches, the possibilities are endless. There is officially one more day to enter the Sellable Sketch giveaway so hop on over and check it out here. Have a fabulous week!
November 19, 2012
*post by Claire Carey, images via: Images clock wise: Dandy Star, Sanna Annukka, Whip Cream from Kidstylesource, Dandy Star, Atsuyo et Akiko from Sweet William, Les Petits Bohemes, Vogue Enfants, ESP no.1, I Love Gorgeous from Babykins Magazine, Sweet William, Le Train Fantome
A traditional adventure with an urban edge. Tribal prints and folklore tales, create a narrative of imagery mixed with woven elements and textures. A colour palette inspired by the city and graphic lettering give the story an urban twist.
August 30, 2012
* images via: “Backlit” by Vince Alongi, Christopher Kane Resort ’13 via vogue.com, “A Rose for You” by RLJ Photography, Rag & Bone Resort ’13 via vogue.com, Christopher Kane Resort ’13 via vogue.com, “white roses” by Katherine Fries, Emilio Pucci Resort ’13 via vogue.com
I’ll be honest with you… illustrations, paintings and photographs of roses are usually a little too “sweet” for my taste. I prefer the complexity of an iris or the attitude of a dahlia. However, these rose prints, which made quite a statement on the resort runway, are really winning me over. The traditional rose prints are in perfect contrast to the younger silhouettes, while abstract interpretations of the rose are an effortless extension of the more conservative garments.
For those of you preparing your collections for the winter shows, how can you take this big-picture lesson and apply it to your work?
Are your customers more conservative? Then try your interpretation of an abstract floral using textures, a new medium, or a larger than life scale.
Are your customers younger and more cutting edge? Then take the tongue-in-cheek approach and see what you can do with a more classic style.
Everyone wants prints and patterns that are fresh and updated, but in order to know what this means in your market it is important to identify who your end-use consumer is looking to for style inspiration. Who do they think is cutting edge? Who do they think is a trendsetter? If you can figure this out, then you just have to worry about remembering to save your work before photoshop crashes…again.
Lots of love–Michelle
August 20, 2012
* images via: Carven Resort 2013 via vogue.com, “Dallas Street Map 1967” by Justin Cozart, Band of Outsiders Resort 2013 via vogue.com, “Globes” by Tup Wanders, “DFW 1956 (Ashburn Map)” by Justin Cozart, Band of Outsiders Resort 2013 via vogue.com, “Stull Lake 53K (1938)” by Wyman Laliberte, “Physical Map of Asia (1920)” by Eric Fischer
I have been so excited to share this trend/ found pattern post for quite some time! How fun are these map prints which are just beginning to emerge on the runway? This is a trend that works for a variety of markets: womenswear, menswear, childrenswear, home decor and possibly even for you quilters out there! I think the look could also be as detailed or as abstract as you wish, so you detail-phobic designers never fear..How do you vote on this trend? Yea or Nay?
August 7, 2012
* images via: Givenchy Resort ’13 via vogue.com, “Diamond pattern” by Anthony Easton, “Diamonds Are Forever” by Scott Robinson, Pringle of Scotland Resort ’13 via vogue.com, “Tilted Squares” by Alan Levine, Balmain Resort ’13 via vogue.com, “window reflection” by goodmami, Pringle of Scotland Resort ’13 via vogue.com, “Diamond eye” by Anita Hart, Balmain Resort ’13 via vogue.com
Chelsea brought this emerging diamond trend to my attention and I absolutely love it for Fall ’13 and Spring ’14. It works for a variety of customers, markets and price points. The design possibilities are endless! Try updating this trend for your customer by playing with scale, color usage, texture and layout direction (why not try a few options that appear skewed or warped?). If you end up running with this trend I would love to see what you develop!