2018 trends: fashion, interiors, lifestyle

I love finding out about new trends and seeing story boards and colour reports...

It inspires me in all sorts of ways; not just in terms of my own creativity and design process but also the reminder that the world around us is a constant source of wonder, inspiration and beauty to be experienced and interpreted.

Earlier this month I attended a trend and branding session at The Lighthouse, Glasgow, with Fiona Chautard and a room full of local freelance creatives and entrepreneurs.

It felt like a guilty pleasure - a mid-week treat - to immerse in the intoxicating flow of new palettes, yarn stories, ideas and more.

Not surprisingly, the key take-out across all industries was the rise in the interest of craft and luxury craft: handmade and traditional techniques that take time, imbue provenance into the final product and carry the authenticity of intent and process.

Another important trend - if you can still call it that - is the need, desire and expectation (from consumers around the world) for sustainability and sustainable supply chains; something that the fashion industry particularly needs to address in sourcing raw materials and in the wake of so much 'fast & fad fashion'.

Many of the emerging stories for the coming seasons had a certain rawness and textural, tactile element, either in the fabrics or the surface decoration.

'Luxury Craft' AW 2018 trend, Fiona Chautard

There seems to be a revolt against perfectionism and polish, as though we need to get a bit more realistic and embrace small flaws of nature as beautiful; deeply connecting us to our roots in society and in the world.

Lots of the surface textures and effects are inspired by the land and by water, striations and marks influenced by nature.

"Fashion becomes a process rather than any one product", each piece telling its own story whether it's crumpled, unfinished, speckled, folded, slashed, exaggerated or oversized.

Aw 2018 trends, Fiona Chautard

Colour is very much influenced by the seventies in both fashion and interiors, with lots of mustard, ochre, camel, soft pink (yes still!), burgundy and teal. In fact teal was the take-out shade of all the many gorgeous greens. 

Teal. TEAL. Teal.

I feel it sits well with the 'Fauna/Cyanotype' report and Print Direction from Patternbank for A/W 18/19 which has inspired me with all those leafy formations morphing into abstracts.

Then there were historical references and a trend referred to as 'MASCULINE REDRAFTED' which I think we see in some iteration every season/year. It's a specific androgyny inspired by rebellion, gender fluidity, tailoring and a simplicity of surface fuss/decoration in favour of a strong, classic cut.

'URBAN FOLK' was an interesting trend, penetrating deeper into anti-tech, craft techniques such as crochet, macrame and a 'charity shop' aesthetic, with a bold palette of 'world pattern' and ethnic influences.

I love a trend like this which allows much in the way of surface decoration, experimentation and multiple, clashing influences.

'Excessive' trend for AW2018, Fiona Chautard

My favourite trend however (as a not-so-closet maximalist) has to be 'EXCESSIVE' which included words and phrases such as: riot, OTT, high-shine, psychedelic medley, wallpaper-scale, glitter, floribunda, clashing patterns, YELLOW,  ornamentation.

As a surface pattern designer, I love to go dramatic with colour and detail so this is one I intend to embrace - to the max. It reminded me of this gorgeous paint-palette which was an inspiring image from my Get Messy Art Journal group:

Get Messy Art Journal paint palette.jpg

Plus my own paint-palette experiments with mark-making (using a stone I picked up on the Cairngorms!)

Acrylic mark-making in teal

Meanwhille, small styling details such as the neck and the sleeves look like important points of focus and difference in fashion stories for the year ahead, with 'comfort as the new luxury' - a concept that will never be out of fashion in the modern era hopefully, plus 'refined glam'.

Basically, there's something for everyone.

As the once very much segmented seasonal year dissolves, and the world becomes smaller, consumers are tending (trending?) towards more investment pieces for anytime-wear which sits well with the idea of 'slow living' and quality over quantity.

Everyone has a voice and most are not afraid to use theirs to protest on issues surrounding the environment, climate change, resources and fair working conditions.

As a designer, I know I'm part of that message in the choices I make for production, packaging and materials. It's a responsibility I don't take lightly and something I want to consider more carefully as my business grows.

For now, I'm going to get my creativity on and see how I can put my own spin on the trends, colours and ideas shared throughout the presentation.

NB. Trend Report images from Fiona's presentation, in association with Textiles Scotland

The physics of a rainbow

Last week I had the urge to paint a rainbow. A few rainbows in fact, while experimenting with new watercolour brushes. Rainbows just feel so happy and inspiring; I think most people enjoy the fleeting appearance of one in the sky. It feels magical and special.

Whenever I see one I feel the need to stare it down until it flits away; not let it get away too fast but then of course those bright arcs of colour dissolve right before my eyes.

The physics of a rainbow

I read an article about the physics of a rainbow, and rearranged the words and sentences to make my own 'rainbow-logic'. It reads something like this:

The image hovering between the clouds was formed by streaming sunlight. Sunlight reflected back towards us suspended in myriad tiny raindrops. Two refractions conspire to concentrate each wavelength of light. Parallel rays entering a spherical raindrop, bounce inside, and the angle of refraction depends on the light; it's wavelength as it hits the surface. Wavelength corresponds to familiar bands of colour...

The physics of a rainbow

Meanwhile, selfishly I've been keeping my inspirations to myself since embracing 2017, and haven't sent out my regular monthly inspiration-mail while I consider what I want to do, where I want to be and what it will take to get me there. I'm taking my time to bloom into the year.

I hope you enjoy these rainbows in the meantime - see you on the other side.

The physics of a rainbow

Finding inspiration: shapes, patterns & motifs

Last week I started a new course in pattern design (yes, I'm obsessed!), and the homework was to find simple shapes and motifs in the everyday things around you. Noticing the everyday things around you, really. The idea was to get out and about, away from the computer, observing nature and the great outdoors in real life, sketching and photographing along the way.

Finding inspiration: wild flowers

Each day I excelled at finding the inspiration:

On walks around my town (cracks in the pavement, sunlight dappling a brick wall, fallen leaves)

In my garden (different shaped leaves and petals, holly, snail trails)

Even in the everyday objects of my home - the bristles of my washing up brush for example!

Finding inspiration: washing up brush

I've not yet had a chance to really delve into these inspirations in my sketchbook, save for a few quick studies.

This one below features the stems of a flower I managed to grow, but I'm not even sure what it is?

Finding inspiration: sketching flowers

It was the first time I opened this box of pencils and it felt...like the start of a new chapter in my creativity. That's fitting for autumn isn't it?

And as I head off on a week's writing and art retreat at the Ted Hughes Arvon centre, Lumb Bank, I thought I'd document my 'finds' so far so I don't lose momentum.

While I'm away I intend to spend a lot of time working in my sketchbook, and will also be creating a hand-made book, so all these inspirations will blend into the mix.

I even managed a quick visit to the Kibble Palace at Glasgow's Botanic Gardens - isn't this lady so wistful? I bet she has plenty of inspiration to share!

Finding inspiration at the Kibble Palace, Glasgow

The succulent garden was especially inspiring - all the gorgeous, perfect natural shapes.

Finding inspiration: succulents

And here's my interpretation in watercolour:

Finding inspiration: succulent sketch

I loved that I noticed these patterns that perhaps I wouldn't normally have stopped to photograph. The condensation particularly caught my attention, with the vibrant green of the grass behind the glass.

Finally, a bit of colour in these hydrangea petals as they transform into their autumn shades:

Finding inspiration: hydrangea

The holly leaves in my garden were so pristine and shiny, so I'll definitely be sketching them. The heather has such interesting little flower tips too, a bit like the lavender I picked.

Now I can carry all these thoughts with me as I pack my selection of travelling art supplies.

Updates on my trip next week!

In the meantime, you might want to subscribe to my 'inspiration' newsletter. Check out last week's mail-out all about autumn.

Tray Art

Sometimes I buy trays as art. I love fun and beautiful prints, and although trays are 'just everyday household objects', it's great to have special trays for different things, with cheerful designs that make you smile each time you use them.

These teeny-tiny trays are so bright and happy. They're handy for keeping jewellery safe and tidy on a busy dressing table, or for sorting out little beads/buttons when sewing.

Pretty Trays

Each tray has its own story. Some are old, others are older. Some are new and likely made in their thousands.

Like this wood-cut print tray from IKEA. It's a lovely big circle; so practical and fun. A good one for festive drinks by the fire?

Wood-cut Print Tray

Meanwhile this Bavarian Castle scene just called to me at a car bootsale. It's so evocative with the snowy mountains in the background and the autumnal trees in the foreground.

Bavarian Castle Tray

I think it's Neuschwanstein Castle? It's certainly a recognisable and popular image. The tray itself is really battered and bent, but it doesn't matter to me because fun prints make me *happy*.

I've got trays with birds on, trays with coloured hearts on, and vintage coffee shop trays. Don't get me started on coasters.

But trays can be propped up on shelves or even hung up as art.

Tray art - often cheaper than an actual art print. And practical. But only if you want it to be...