By  on August 14, 2007

NEW YORK — Exhibitors at last week's Direction and Printsource textile design shows here found buyers breaking away from the traditional and on the hunt for seasonal favorites that had been updated with modern touches.

At Direction, geometric and floral ikats were among the bestsellers at Marilyn Kern Textile Designs.

"Supergraphics saw their heyday," said Marilyn Kern. "This season, people really favored unique, small geometrics and soft florals."

At Printsource, Tag Sale Textiles saw similar trends in textural "no-print" prints.

"Small scrolls and medallions performed very well," said Wendy Greenberg, Tag Sale's owner. "The most successful pieces, though, had the appearance of a texture instead of a pattern."

On the color front, gray proved to be a prominent feature of many collections and was sought after by buyers.

"Gray is wonderful for solids on cashmere and wool, but it's a hard color story to work into prints," said Kern.

She and several other vendors did manage to use the color in their creations by bringing in strong acid tones. Bright hues were carried over from spring and added to prints that usually feature fall's brown and gray palettes. The response to this combination of posh and punch resonated with buyers.

"It seems to be the way designs are colored that brings freshness this season," said Nadia Reisfeld, owner of NR Designs. "People gravitated toward simple patterns with hits of color."

At Direction, Reisfeld's customers scooped up monotone prints and sophisticated designs that incorporated defined splashes of bright color.

"One of our biggest challenges was to turn our backs on the traditional fall palette," said Paul Brewster of Brewster Ltd. "We mixed a lot of 'high-summer' colors in with our classic neutrals this season."

The new palette wasn't the only challenge exhibitors faced this season. An early morning torrential downpour on the second day of the show crippled the city's transit system and, consequently, put a dent into traffic. The breadth of offerings on display was also overwhelming to vendors and their customers.

"There doesn't seem to be one or two really big trends these last few seasons," said Reisfeld.Samantha Cortes of Fashion Design Concepts said, "There is so much available, it was difficult dividing everything into categories. It's hard getting a point across to the market."

The burden is especially hard on the large vintage presence at Printsource.

"There are vintage pieces that customers always ask for that are not trend-driven," said Greenberg. "Not everyone can have them all at the show along with all the popular pieces."

Presenting unique product was the key to standing out, according to Brewster.

"Trends, no matter how many there are, always need to progress," he said. "It's all about the new."

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