Supposing There Were No New Fabrics?


Sometimes I lie awake at night pondering the great conundrums of the universe such as: if the speed of light is 670 million miles per hour, what is the speed of darkness?  Or is darkness really light travelling backwards?  But in my worst moments I wonder: what if there were no new fabric designs?What if all the designers across the globe woke up one day and said, “Nope, that’s it.  I’ve run dry.  Can’t think of any new designs.”  What then?

We have spent many years selling beautiful fabrics from across the world: Michael Miller, Riley Blake, Clothworks and Studio E to name but a few.  We are even commissioning our own batiks from Indonesia.  So each time we see a new range coming out I love to ask the people with whom we work, “What was the inspiration for that group?”  Kathy Miller of Michael Miller has said that for colours she looks at Tupperware.  Tupperware?  Whatever colours they use in their latest offering will work their way through to our craft the following year.  They have an army of people looking at trends so must know what they are talking about!Riley - Blake Flora&Fawn09.jpg

And why it is that suddenly you get butterflies or dinosaurs appearing across several manufacturers I still don’t understand but it happens.  It seems that the release of a popular film such as Star Wars will drive lots of space designs but only one licensee will be able to offer the real thing.  Still doesn’t explain the whole butterfly thing!

And how do they put collections together?  It seems that there are certain elements that you should include such as a non-directional toss, possibly a panel or feature print, a border, a couple of different colourways.  Then a collection really does start to work together.

So, given all these variables, perhaps my fear that one day we may face the apocalyptic situation of no new fabrics may be groundless.  There is always a new angle to explore, new colours (remember purple?), fashion trends and fads.  And if all else should fail, I like to think that the stash is nothing but an insurance policy against it all going wrong one day.

Michael Miller - Joy collection - Tamara KateIf you would like to learn exactly what goes into producing new designs from someone who does it day in day out, Cindy Cloward, Design Director from Riley Blake Designs, will be giving a presentation at the QGBI Conference on Friday 20th April at 4.40 p.m.  And if you go along, she may set your mind at rest that there is plenty more to come from their design studio!

Now, shall I google “the speed of darkness” and see what it tells me?

Written by guest blogger Graeme Wright, Managing Director EQS Ltd.

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