Fashion guest: Mary Sholl

Mary Sholl is a leading Colour and Concept Specialist representing UK-based forecasting agency Unique Style Platform at the Premiere Vision’s international meetings.

With 15+ years in the specialist field of colour and concept, Mary’s career has spanned both ends of the industry; from roles as the leading in-house Colour Specialist for some of the UK’s largest retailers, through to colour and concept consultation for independent brands, consulting studios and Unique Style Platform. She is also a respected and active member of the British Textile Colour Group, contributing to the UK’s Intercolor presentations.

In this article, she explores a new colour concept for SS24. You can view a version of the article on USP’s new subscription website the USP EDIT at

As we seek to remedy the impact of modern life, we turn to the earth in its purest form for healing and grounding. Seeking elemental immersion and a bodily connection to the earth, mud and clay act as therapeutic aids for detoxification and purification. 

An ancient ritual practised by our ancestors, mud bathing offers purity via impurity as we cleanse ourselves with detoxifying dirt. Minerals and sediment seep into our systems as we wish to create a deeper connection and purify ourselves. 

Design is harnessing the physical qualities and appearance of sediment and mud, seeing new surface innovations explore its textural qualities, from a glossy wet appearance through to dry and caked. Mud and clay are used as a raw material, alongside creations mimicking its qualities. Its use and influence create objects and spaces that keep us rooted to the elements. 

Mud is also permeating fashion, with some of the most influential fashion houses using it as an influence in the Ready to Wear SS23 shows. Mud and soil served as both an immersive, dramatic backdrop in one of the most talk about shows, while the colour of mud and clay became a prominent neutral. These clay and mud tones have been showcased as desirable, relevant and appealing as well as restorative.

Reflecting its function as a temperature regulating material, the colour of clay and mud offer both a warm and cool quality through fusing brown and grey. As we discover it’s not always about brown vs grey, clay and mud tones bridge the gap with elevated equilibrium, adding a sedimentary quality to the neutral spectrum for SS24. 

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