This past week I attended the Directions textile show at the suggestion of one of my friends from Fashion News Workshop. This particular friend thought I would enjoy Directions because they have a whole new division dedicated to sustainability. While I found this part of the show exciting—I especially love the rubber made from recycled tires—what shocked me most was the entire purpose of the show was to inspire fashion designers on new fabric patterns and emerging trends in fashion design.
Who knew such a thing existed! I always assumed fashion designers were out there gathering this stuff everyday like the rest of us… Instead it turns out there is a whole cottage industry dedicated to inspiring them.
Personally, I found the entire experience to be a bit overwhelming. There was floor to ceiling swatches of fabric and literally patterns on top of patterns. Where to begin?
One booth cut through the clutter. Beyond Retro with their big tattoo inspired anchor on a field of bright yellow ran a tightly branded ship. Their entire aura conveyed that they specialized in helping you look forward by selecting the best of the past. I love looking backwards to go forward.
A few other booths, like Printfresh, stood out by utilizing modern, clean, simple typography. Nothing too much just a simple branded presence to counter the heavily layered imagery all around.
Another company, Paul Vogel, embraced the barrage of patterns by branding themselves with one of their own.
So what exactly were all these booths selling? Fabric swatches. If you like a swatch, you buy it, work it into your mood boards and ultimately copy or adapt it for you next runway master piece. Now you know where that pattern on your new shirt came from.