Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Follow The Trend

Louise from Blue Ginger Clothing in Keighley makes most of her own clothes and also imports them from the Far East so it makes sense for her to study the latest trends in fashion and it is important for her business to know what will be popular next season.

This is something that you can also apply to your arts business by studying trends, not only in your chosen field of art, but in fashion, colour and surface pattern too. Believe it or not, predicting the latest trends in consumer taste is big business and there are companies who make their living business to advise industries "what is hot and what is not".
Louise's style of clothing has found a niche in the current growth of vintage fashion with prints popular in the sixties, seventies and eighties and bold patterns too. Vintage is VERY popular today including jewellery, accessories, hair styles, wallpaper and even art. (In my day it was called kitsch). Of course, nostalgia is not just a current trend as we have been down the nostalgic route before in the 1960's and 1970's when Victoriana was all the rage. The doyenne of this trend was the wonderful Laura Ashley, who tapped into the craze for nostalgia with her english country house style mixed with cottage garden. Laura Ashley redesigned an entire Victorian era by using soft colours, chintz and floral prints. She was influenced by everything that was good about Victorian design including Edwin Lutyens, William Morris and the Arts and Craft Movement and updated it to make it more practical. Her design style was a reaction to the plastic materials that had been introduced since the 1950's and I like to think that our current interest in vintage is a reaction to some of the unimaginative crap that we see on the high street.
When interviewed before her tragic death in 1985, Laura Ashley spoke about how she started her business by printing tea towels on her kitchen table and made the entire business seem like it was more to do with luck. I very much doubt that - may be she WAS fortunate to be in the right place at the right time but she also knew how to give people what they wanted and she knew about contemporary taste. The Laura Ashley brand was built on determination, hard work and the business knowledge of Sir Bernard Ashley. Laura Ashley Design has had a huge influence on many of today's designers such as Genevieve Lethu (my favourite) and Cath Kidston and there is a lot we can still learn today from this great British designer.

Fashion forecasting and shopping trends is something you can apply to your arts business too. Take some time to study the current trends and also check out the predictions for next season. You can apply "seasons" to your work by changing your influences whilst retaining the style of your art. Changing your work seasonally will help you to keep it fresh and will also help you to decide what sells and what doesn't. Here are a couple of web sites to get you started.
Print & Pattern
Fashion TrendSetter
Trend Stop


  1. Great post! I'm always keen to learn about the latest fashion trends so the links you've provided are really useful. xx

  2. This is a really interesting post and I certainly agree that learning more about current trends and design makes good business sense. I enjoy your blog and am glad you decided to do one on "Artists in Business". Many of us tend to focus more on the creative side and not the business side. A balance is needed.