With the New Designers 2015 Show turning 30 this year, once again it did not disappoint – the best design graduates descended from all depths of the country, showcasing snippets of their final year’s portfolio as final year students. Walking around the Business Design Centre this year, I did pick up a few upcoming trends who are definitely worth a mention.
If you are struggling for inspiration, just take a little look at the trendsetters showcased in this blog post. Each designer interpreted their theme quite differently, and most probably all of them started with something quite niche and specific. It’s so exciting to see the final pieces!
Something I picked up straight away after walking into the first stand on the show; Devore. Familiar with the screen printers amongst us, Devore is the process of dissolving fibres in a napped fabric to expose the base fabric, leaving solidly woven pieces of a design seemingly floating. I was taught this process at university back in 2011, and whilst it was awesome to wash away parts of a fabric and leave your own drawing in velvet nap, it didn’t feel like the next big thing. Now, it looks pretty awesome. It adds crazy texture even if your print is delicate.
Other examples of this trend I noticed; Hand Embroidery onto net fabrics, the use of heavy stitch on dissolvable film and embroidery onto acetate. Also heavy machine embroidery onto barely-there fabrics such as organza is another great example of this niche trend.
Here are some designers who I thought really hit the nail on the head with this technique. And no Damask in sight – which is just about the most tempting type of pattern for this process!
Interestingly, the ‘theme’ stretched further than textiles. This is why New Designers is awesome: its great to see a whole bunch of disciplines under one roof, they can inspire you in all different ways. Above, the work of Emma Lyon. Emma studied almost the same course as me – Design Crafts. I love the structural element to her work and the fact you can of course see through the sides- and is still perfectly functional.
LOTS of bug prints. It was all feeling very Charles Darwin in the BDC today, with lots of different takes on this classic theme. As a girl who hates all-things-fluttery and gets the heeby jeebys over a thunderfly, I warmed to these prints. Their colour palettes were soft and delicate, the materials tactile, and the museum-like studies felt so peaceful!
This surface print from Alex Pook-Leary really reminded me of Paige Cartledge, who was an award winner at last years New Designers for her finely detailed illustrations on wallpaper. Alex’s monochrome palette was very striking and worked brilliantly with both the theme and the wallpaper surface.
These lovely little embroidered peices are by Sophie E Reynolds. She creates her work with a wide range of mixed media, with watercolours, Tapestry skills, embroidery and beading, flocking, puff binder and collage work all going into her projects. There is definitely something to be said for taking your sketchbook to the Natural History Museum this year it seems!
Fruits & Their Florals
Florals are of course, a staple each and every year. However, something I hadn’t seen a lot of before were fruits, florals and foliage! There was a wide array of fruity fabrics and surfaces, not even necessarily textiles-based. There were paintings, tiny embroideries, wallpaper repeats, sculptural display pieces and screenprints, all with a different take on fruits (and some veg!).
Prints by Vicky Somerville
Vicky had an interesting range of surface designs. Her surface designs included watermelon, pineapples and strawberries- an exotic twist on the theme.
Bryony Pimble – another designer maker who used fruit and veg in her studies; a lot more fine art techniques shown here, but i love seeing sketchbook pieces and drawings which inspire different types of work. Above, a little painting and some mixed media copies, including embroidery.
Shiny & Holographic materials are at the height of their trend in the high street at the moment, but this years graduates are all about subtle metallics; Specifically, foiling. Featuring on fabrics and wallpapers, foiling is traditionally a screenprinting technique, but a number of graduates I spoke to experimented with brush strokes and other less formal ways of applying adhesive for foil application. There was a mix of structured repeats and informal brush strokes but one thing is certain – subtle foiling is on trend! If you want to inject some metallic into your projects, try perhaps using metallic toothed zippers instead of your nylon ones, or metallic topstitching threads.
Above, the beautiful work of Becky Dainty. She also included another trend i haven’t subcategorised, but i loved it so – Trimmings, specifically pom poms!! They were perfectly suited on this cushion. Her colour palette is very unusual but i really enjoyed the colours, materials, and the metallics all together.
Another lovely subtle foiling piece – by Hayley Harrison. She foiled onto wallpaper, which i loved, i dont think i saw this in the show again. You can just about see the sheen in this picture! For a closer look – have a little look through her Instagram.
That’s it for our New Designers 2015 round-up! I look forward to spotting trends and ways of working at some other shows this year, including interesting finds at retail shows and ways to incorporate trends into your current projects.
Thank you to all the designers featured in this post, who have all kindly given their permission to use their images.