3 Emerging Pattern Trends

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Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Indigo New York and Printsource New York, two of the most popular print shows held in the United States. If you are not familiar with the pattern world, these shows are where pattern designers, studios and agents gather to sell their artwork directly to product designers and manufacturers.

The shows are held every January, April and July, with patterns for the fall/winter seasons typically being presented in July and patterns for the spring/summer seasons being presented in January. Although there is some crossover, Indigo traditionally features trendier patterns for the apparel marketplace, while Printsource specializes in whimsical patterns for the apparel, stationery and craft markets.

In today’s post, I am excited to share three emerging pattern trends seen at both Indigo and Printsource. These trends each stand out to me as an innovative direction for the pattern world and will extend beyond the Fall 2014/15 season.


Image credits (clockwise): Constellation Studio, Pattern Textiles, Caju Collective, Hunt+Gather, Caju Collective, 02Gatos

1.) Super nature.

In this trend, florals, foliage and animal inspired patterns have been given a futuristic twist. Cosmic scenes, microscopic textures and other out-of-this world motifs are used to create a sense of awe and wonder. Depth and layers are key to this trend, which highlights the digital fabric printing technique that has become more affordable for many manufacturers. With this technique, designers are able to use hundreds of colors to achieve the stunning results as you can see above.


Image credits (clockwise): Chris Judge, Chris Judge, 02Gatos, Indigo Installation, The Colorfield, 02Gatos

2.) Shades of black.

Crisp black and white patterns were popular at both shows, and this sophisticated interpretation seems to be where the trend is heading. Shades of black uses transparencies, overlays, gradients and textures to create a sense of romance and mystery. This trend allows us to discover new motifs, textures, shades and details that are not visible at first glance. Lace, embroidery and embossing techniques can also be used to execute this alluring trend.


Image credits (clockwise): Pattern Textiles, Prints of Orange, Hunt+Gather, Running Stitch

3.) Ethnic brights.

Our industry’s obsession with ancient textile techniques such as, ikat, batik and shabori, is showing no signs of slowing down, but these crisp, vibrant patterns caught my eye. The important aspects of this trend are clean motifs, ornate details and vibrant colors. To explore this trend, look to traditional textile techniques for inspiration, scale back the amount of texture being used, and incorporate a bold, vibrant color palette.

Resource for the Savvy Designer

Did you miss HOW Design Live? There’s still hope if you’re wanting to stay abreast on the industry trends and leading advice divulged from experts. Access HOW Design Live sessions now.


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About Michelle FifisThrough her e-courses and private coaching, Michelle Fifis mentors pattern designers who want to improve the professionalism of their work and make more money in their businesses. Learn more about her work at Pattern Observer.View all posts by Michelle Fifis →