Can You Follow Trends and Still Stand Out? - Surtex

On the Surface

Can You Follow Trends and Still Stand Out?

Yes! In fact, when used properly, trends can actually improve your brand image. That’s why your brand’s interpretation of the latest trends is so important. Your brand’s interpretation is your creative voice—your mark of originality—in a crowded marketplace.

Here are three quick tips for how to approach trends in an authentic way:

Tip #1: Consider Trends Through your Customers’ Eyes

As you begin reviewing trends, try and shift your mindset away from ‘do I like this trend’ to ‘would my customer like / wear / buy this trend?’ If the answer is no, move onto a trend which better matches your customers’ style.

Tip #2: Think of Trends as a Starting Point, Not the Finish Line

Rather than being a strict guideline that must be adhered to, trends provide an opportunity for creativity. Think of them as a lens through which you can express your own artistic style and personal flair. Once you’ve considered how your customers might receive a particular trend, think of how you can push that trend forward and make it truly your own.

If your customer is more conservative, think of how you can apply this trend to past styles that have sold well and resonated with your customer. This way, you’ll be offering them relatable designs, ones that they understand, but also spicing it up and making it fresh! A big and bold trend can be made more subtle, tone-on-tone, or minimalist to suit your customers’ past preferences.

You can also apply a trend to motifs or imagery that you know will resonate with your customer, even if the trend itself might not be an overall fit. For example, one of the trends we are following right now are these tiny, micro ditsy florals. These are perfect for some markets, but if your customers doesn’t usually purchase floral patterns, consider running a micro dot or geometric or even conversational pattern. Make the trend your own. Make it work for your end user.

Tip #3: Hide the Trends, And Do your Own Thing

At a certain point, you need to just put away the trend mood boards and go with your gut. As a designer, I love trend research, but when it comes right down to it, the best advice is to put it all out of sight and just put pen to paper—or tablet! By putting the research out of sight, I find that I am more easily able to take a small bit of inspiration and interpret it in my own style and in the voice of my client’s brand. So research, internalize that, and then go and make something new! 

Another great thing to remember when it comes to working with trends is that there’s always an opportunity to see something fresh and new in something classic and vintage. Trends have a way of coming back around! If you’re drawn to inspiration from the past, you can always find relevant trend inspiration in vintage textiles, art, and objects!

We had a chance to catch up with Pat Nugent from Patricia Nugent Design and Textiles about finding trend inspiration from vintage pieces. With more than three decades of experience in design, merchandising, color planning and production, Pat Nugent has been offering artful solutions for the design trade since 1992. She’s worked with some of the top, worldwide brands in apparel, textiles, home textiles and products, tabletop, paper goods and more. Here’s what Pat had to say: 

“Designs which originate from antique and vintage patterns have a genuine warmth and rich patina about them. By creating brand-right products that begin with ageless motifs and colors, I believe designers bring irresistible qualities to their final designs. They can create one-of-a-kind prints and patterns with their creative signature on them.

“How often do we hear that a design era or genre is back? For example, recently we have heard that 18th century toile inspires modern toile. And soft, impressionistic florals and 1930’s florals are on-trend. Mid-century geos are still trending. Bright, happy 1960’s florals are right for swim and girls’ wear. These are history’s captivating ideas that inspire creative work today.

“We offer timeless antique and vintage inspiration from which one print, multiple prints or entire collections can be designed and developed. Our expertise is to listen to what our customers want and then help them find what solves their design puzzles. We help them find their design voices and allow them to speak to the brands for which they design.”