The pattern specialists chose to present a rich and creative offer to help reassure fashion professionals in doubt. « From Liberty-style flowers to African prints with textured backgrounds, we have a very diverse collection. This way, each brand can find what it wants. This is important at a time when brands are looking to find their way, » says Ben Short, studio head at Amanda Kelly.
This rich diversity can be found everywhere, but strong trends are nevertheless emerging for next season. In designs targeting prints, a « hand-painted » spirit in soft and feminine colours garnered interest (Abby Lichtman Design), while tie-dyes (Cocobloom) and a number of paisleys (Robert Vernet) also caught the attention of brands. Another area of demand focused on abstract motifs, inspired by minerals such as marble (The Colorfield). Besides the designs, print grounds also made a difference. « Our sector is really competitive and you have to offer something surprising, » says Lisa Berridge, Cocobloom’s artistic director, pointing to a print on a burnt-out voile that met with a lot of success. Designer Abby Lichtman noted an opportunity for her business to expand into accessories. « Our designs are increasingly being selected for backpacks and fabric bum-bags, » she says. These specialists also noted the lack of seasonality in their artworks. « Now you find tie-dyes and tropical colours broken down in autumnal hues, » pointed out Adam Read, director of The Colorfield. And many stands in fact are offering these kinds of designs, such as Amanda Kelly, with African wax-style motifs combined with flowers in dark shades.
Yet whatever the preference, as they said at Antoinette and Freddy’s stand, « A good design is a good design. »
For knitwear specialists, the technical side is key, especially blends of yarns with different weights and aspects. « There has to be texture, and some of our proposals are very well suited to sports-type clothing items, thanks to a blend of stitches that create 3D effects, » said Stéphane Nahon, who works alongside Sophie Steller. In their more ready-to-wear offer, he also saw a demand for fairly classic jacquard patterns, « but revisited in new and unusual colours ». At Bobble, plays on colours, both strong and soft, also helped to differentiate their knits. « Brands need something exciting because it’s a tough market out there, » pointed out Helen Jenkins, sales manager at the English studio.
As for Gopesh Beriwal, head of marketing at Nascent Studio, he’s convinced that his core business, embroidery, is due for an imminent comeback after several seasons dominated by prints. « Brands are looking for something different, and eventually they’ll tire of prints, » he reasoned. Only next season will tell.