New Year, New Show, New Goals: SURTEX® 2018 - Surtex

On the Surface

New Year, New Show, New Goals: SURTEX® 2018

Introducing Randi Mohr

My name is Randi Mohr and I’m the incoming SURTEX® Show Director. While I’m new to the SURTEX team, I’ve been with Emerald Expositions (and formerly George Little Management) since 2003 working on various pieces of the business during my tenure. I’m so delighted to join the SURTEX community and look forward to connecting with many of you in the weeks and months ahead as we gear up toward another successful show this May.

Did you know SURTEX is in its 32nd year?  With such an impressive and respected reputation we’ve taken time to reflect on where we’ve been as a show – and the exciting opportunities to come!  This May SURTEX will feature the newest print and pattern trends, the latest colors and styles, and bold new designs including contemporary, urban, and fantasy – from all around the globe. We’re also very pleased to present the first issue of On The Surface for 2018 with a fresh new voice.  We’ve teamed up with Michelle Fifis, who will tell you a bit more about herself below, and will be helping us bring you content and insights relevant to your business. We look forward to seeing you in May!


Introducing Michelle

Hello On The Surface subscribers! I’m Michelle Fifis, founder of Pattern Observer and The Textile Design Lab. In my own work, I’ve had the privilege of helping thousands of designers in developing their businesses and grow their expertise. I am delighted and honored that SURTEX® has invited me to host their newsletter for the next few months.

For the past fifteen years, I’ve been involved in the textile design industry in a variety of roles—from in-house textile designer at Jantzen Swimwear and Columbia Sportswear, to freelance textile design, education, and mentorship. My work has connected me with many amazing designers, from those who are just building their first portfolios and websites, to industry veterans who want to adapt to a changing, growing industry.

What I have learned so far is that both designers and buyers have a shared goal: to connect—even though we approach that goal from two very different perspectives. We all want to make that point of contact, to find the right fit for our project, to find the client who will take our art and open it up to the world.

The new year is a great time to reflect on the successes of 2017, take stock of what worked in our businesses, and consider how we can build upon these wins. I’ve been taking the opportunity to reconnect with my brand, my creativity, and my goals for the upcoming year. Here are some starting points in your own exploration as you prepare for 2018:

For Designers

  • What client, partner, or project brought you joy this past year?
  • What was it about this particular project that was so fulfilling? Was it the connection that you felt with the client or partner, or a trend or artistic style that you enjoyed pursuing?
  • What actions can you take to ensure that you have more projects like this in the upcoming year?
  • In what ways did you challenge yourself? In what ways have you gained in confidence and skill?
  • What things didn’t work? What can you learn from them?
  • Are your branding and marketing efforts working together to attract your ideal client, partner or project?

 For Buyers and Licensees

  • What artwork resonated with your customers in 2017?
  • What sales data or social media statistics can you look at to see what resonated with your customers?
  • Why do you think this product or artwork performed so well? Was it the artistic style? Was it the color palette? Something else?
  • How can you build upon this success in the upcoming year?
  • What things didn’t work? What can you learn from them?


Get Ready for the Show

SURTEX is bursting into the new year with a new perspective and new goals for reaching and connecting with designers, manufacturers, and retailers across the spectrum of original art and design. With a broadening, global theme, we’re expecting contemporary art trends to take the stage more than ever in the coming year.

The 2018 SURTEX show is set to take place May 20–22, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. Attendee registration opened this month. Keep on top of new SURTEX show information by watching this space, connecting with SURTEX on social media, or visiting



Featured Artists

This month’s newsletter features the work of two designers we are excited to welcome to SURTEX 2018. Their contemporary styles are the perfect way to welcome an exciting new year.

Mary Edwards fuses the energy and soul of the outdoors with an optimistic spirit to create happy, healthy environments for home, office and play. Her hand-drawn designs reflect decades of world travel and exposure to nature, culture and community.

Martha Colón is a New Jersey-based artist with a diverse artistic repertoire in fine art illustration, clothing design, prints, and textile print design. Her artwork, stationery, and other accessories feature Meow Cleeva®, a character originally designed for a comic strip.