Viewpoint Colour #4

IDENTITY PARADE

New generations are bringing us new understandings of personal identity, inclusivity and cultural ties. Just like the students in 1968 (May saw the 50th Anniversary of the famous Paris protests by workers and students), they disagree with traditional ideologies, they’re anti-establishment and believe in a safer, fairer world. They’re on a mission to leave the world a better place than they found it.

 

Anti-judgmental, Millennials and Gen Z reject the idea of ‘normal’ and defined categories. We are all different but there’s no right or wrong, ugly or pretty, you are who you are. They won’t question your sexuality or gender and most definitely will not judge you for it. Diverse cultures are welcomed and blended. Don’t label me and I won’t label you.

 

Be yourself yes, but also be connected. ‘Collaboration’ is the word of the moment, as people try to connect with each other to create a better future. They are busy concocting ‘cultural smoothies’, blending cultures, skill sets and people from all parts of the world as traditional frontiers, both mental and physical, are broken down and totally new identities and norms are created.

 

Taiye Selasi had it so right in the 2014 TED talk: “Don’t ask where I am from, ask where I am local. All experience is local – all identity is experience. What makes a place a home are the experiences around it Culture exists/ in community and community exists in context.”

 

So, welcome to our latest issue of Viewpoint Colour, “Identity”, where we look not just at colour but at the world in a totally new context.

News: a creative industry round-up of the most insightful colour news stories across the lifestyle industries .

Identity Parade: identity is one of the strongest creative inspirations across all fields – in particular fashion, which is perhaps one of the most experimental and rebellious of all. As identity becomes more fluid and hybridised, its influence becomes ever more potent.

Colour Forecast A/W 2019/20: this issue’s colour forecast embodies varying aspects of our ‘Identity’ theme: ‘Femininity Redefined’ drawing on a mood of fresh activism and resistance to female under-representation; ‘Street Wise’ where street style and luxury fashion collide to create an amalgamated aesthetic that straddles the divide between high and low culture; Multi-Local’ that embraces the inherent idea that identities are formed not by a single heritage; and ‘More is More’– a total rejection of convention and the status quo resulting in a design direction where anything goes.

Tying the Knot: the first of our visual essay features where the visualised thoughts that artist William Ukoh presents are a celebration of his own identity, both generational and cultural.

Colour May Vary designers take a leap of faith, for, just as repurposing determines the new iterations of materials and products, it also influences their colour – sparking a different way of thinking about colour and incorporating it into design.

‘Bright Generation’ positioned between the duality of her Swiss and Guinean heritage, photographer Namsa Leuba’s work in our second visual essay envisions ‘the representation of African identity through the Western imagination.

Colour Futures: ‘Other Worlds’ as emerging technologies break down the boundaries between digital
and real, human and machine, alive and inert, we observe new worlds of our own creation.

View Two #25

AUTUMN/WINTER 19/20 AND SPRING/SUMMER 20/20
 
DESIGN IDEAS FOR THE DENIM, SPORTS, CASUAL, ACTIVE AND ATHLEISURE MARKETS
Brands have realised that their consumer market has changed. It’s no longer about elitism: it’s about relevance. It’s no longer about boomers, but about reaching Generations Y and Z – consumers that would never usually take an interest in high-end fashion or tailoring and see the business models of many traditional luxury brands as uncool. Hence luxury’s sudden love affair with rappers, hip-hop, sneakers and streetwear.
 
The most talked-about collaboration of the moment is the appointment of Virgil Abloh, the founder of streetwear sensation Off-White, as men’s artistic director of Louis Vuitton. This encapsulates the massive change taking place in fashion at the moment and shows how luxury brands are looking to the cultural energy and business model of streetwear to stay relevant.
 
The question everyone is asking is whether all this truly heralds a new age of luxury streetwear, permanently changing our understanding of clothes. Certainly a ‘Millennial mindset’ is taking hold across the luxury market. Generations Y and Z are now the main growth engine of that market, driving 85% of luxury expansion last year, according to Bain & Company. By 2025, they are expected to account for 45% of total luxury goods spending.
 
What’s more, these generations were brought up on the internet; they live a socially networked life which streetwear, with its graphic visual approach and irony, can so much better reflect than formal fashion. We are also living in the age of drop marketing, with its constant flow of new product releases: street and athleisure are much better at providing a stream of novelty at Instagram speed than traditional luxury fashion. Most important of all, streetwear exists within a culture of collaboration, and collaboration models are one of the biggest factors driving innovation at the moment.
Big Ideas
We continue to explore the concept of ‘belonging’, examining the interconnecting themes that surround this idea through key cultural drivers, to build a series of colour palettes and harmonies that epitomise each statement and envelop the season.
Denim
Authenticity and originality drive newness as themes that reference denim heritage are re-spun for a modern audience. Western, worker and grunge influences are each revisited this season. Vintage-look washes in mid to light blues remain key, while cleaner dark rinses and washed blacks, greys and green-tinted blues offer more seasonally adapted looks.
Casual
Themes of resilience, originality and simplicity are echoed here, taking direction from the big ideas for the season, realised through fabric choice, explorative styling and the emerging move towards finding luxury within simplicity.

Athleisure

As the boundary between casual and active wardrobes continues to blur, we highlight the key crossover statements emerging for the AW19/20 season. Head-to-toe dark urban looks are reworked in high-tech performance fabrics for an updated ath-tility aesthetic. Everyday basics including hoodies, T-shirts and sweats are updated and reworked through asymmetric cut-about panelling, high-contrast top stitching and lacing detail inserts.

Active
Drawing on the continued desire for escapism and the need to retreat, which we have highlighted as a key theme for the previous two seasons, the latest developments are designed to calm and re-centre the wearer, both in body and mind.
Performance
The desire for adventure and experience over physical possession remains a key consumer trend, and functionality, durability and hybrid styling remain the strongest selling points within the performancewear category.
Forecast
The mood of the season is iconoclastic but thoughtful, embracing change as a positive force for current needs and future communities. Conventional thinking loses relevance as a radical new attitude comes to the fore; one that gleefully mixes ancient and futuristic, global and local, technological and spiritual.

Textile View #122

SUMMER 2018: PRONOUNCED


Luxury Street

The most talked-about collaboration of the moment is the appointment of Virgil Abloh, the founder of streetwear sensation Off-White, as men’s artistic director of Louis Vuitton. This encapsulates the massive change taking place in fashion at the moment and shows how luxury brands are looking to the cultural energy and business model of streetwear to stay relevant.

The question everyone is asking is whether all this truly heralds a new age of luxury streetwear, permanently changing our understanding of clothes. Certainly a ‘Millennial mindset’ is taking hold across the luxury market. Generations Y and Z are now the main growth engine of that market, driving 85% of luxury expansion last year, according to Bain & Company. By 2025, they are expected to account for 45% of total luxury goods spending. Each generation has its cultural touchstones and Millennials are clearly more in tune with hip hop than red-carpet glamour. They want brands that reflect what they consider more authentic cultural associations.

What’s more, these generations were brought up on the internet; they live a socially networked life which streetwear, with its graphic visual approach and irony, can so much better reflect than formal fashion. We are also living in the age of drop marketing, with its constant flow of new product releases: street and athleisure are much better at providing a stream of novelty at Instagram speed than traditional luxury fashion. Most important of all, streetwear exists within a culture of collaboration, and collaboration models are one of the biggest factors driving innovation at the moment.

City view
We look at Lisbon, which has undergone somewhat of a cultural emergence over recent years, with international visitor numbers having risen by 12% year on year and creatives citing the city as ‘the new Berlin’. Updates, as ever, on London, Paris and NY.
Season in review
Autumn/Winter 18/19
Womenswear designer colours 
The designer colour choice for A/W18/19 delivered strong amplified messages with vivid colour reinforcing a powerful “Don’t-Mess-With-Me” attitude.
Menswear designer messages 
When a designer steps off the wheel and bravely presents a focused collection that is relevant and stands apart from the masses, we welcome it with open arms.  
Season in focus
Spring/Summer 2019
The latest additions to womenswear fabric collections 
Manufacturers have been working hard to combine the two talking points of the season – sustainability and relevance. In a way, they are polarised objectives, but by using new technology to find natural solutions, the results are surprisingly good!
Menswear fabric orientations 
The summer fabric mood took two directions: the sporting life – an active leisure or athletic style with tech performance at its heart or a more subtle game of smooth refinement in gentler colourations for fluid, sensual satins and filament silky looks.
Forward view
Autumn/Winter 19/20
Womenswear fabric and colour forecast 
As the feminist climate intensifies, the merging of men’s and womenswear collections escalates. Textiles will range from classic, non-gender specific designs to ultra-feminine florals.
Menswear colours, styling and fabrics 
A/W 19/20 remains colour intense from the deepest tinted darks, through warmly filtered reds and ochres, updated flat primaries to hyper-fantastical pastels.
Accessories & trimmings forecast
This season offers eclectic inspiration, turning around accepted codes and blurring still further different market segments.
Womenswear knitwear colours, yarns and styling 
The intertwining of radical technical advancements and the natural order of things points the way forward.
Menswear knitwear styling concepts 
Now we see what we have done to our planet, we are reflecting on our mistakes and, seeking redemption; we look for action aided by technology and natural resources.
Knit forecast
For S/S 2020, materials break boundaries and combine to create new tensions where an eco smart sustainable edge is at its invisible heart.
Design and lifestyle – fashion meets furniture 
In a year overshadowed by the #metoo discussion, data protection issues and political distress, designers and brands appear to be avoiding moral, social and political issues focusing instead on pollution, future cities and new branding opportunities.

Viewpoint #41

TACTILITY: THE CORNERSTONE OF HUMANCENTRIC BEHAVIOUR

If you were to ask the design imperative of the moment, the answer would be ‘colour’; but a very close second would come touch and handle! Wherever we look, we see tweed, slub, granular, crêpe, 3D, sculpted, blister, cloqué, raised surfaces… This is not just because of design aesthetics but also our growing need for ‘humancentric’ behavior.

With Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the rise, consumers are responding in two ways: some embrace it as a way to create time, boost productivity and even manage mood; other reject it preferring the fundamentally human characteristics of community, embracing the down-to-earth, the analogue and each other. We are busy right now considering what it means to be human – how we live in our own skin and celebrate our differences.

Flesh, of course, has been on the mind of designers for some years, but nowhere more talked about than in Kanye West’s Yeezy apparel and footwear show for Adidas in February 2015, dramatic in its combination of nude bodysuits, seamless underwear and athletic-inspired streetwear in muddy colours — and perhaps one of the most spectacular front rows ever assembled

Pink has been a key player in fashion for years now evolving from the ultra-girlie into masculine acceptability and the colour of protest, but our new fascination with flesh shifted focus away from millennial and pretty hues into real skin tones and their related textures. That feeling has been exacerbated by the drive towards social ‘inclusivity’ where consumers want to be treated as individuals and considered for themselves no matter what their race, gender, size, ability or faith – hence the rush in cosmetics for an ever increasing number of nuanced foundation creams and blushers, suncare for all skin tones, hosiery and even bandages for humans of all colours.

Of course, our celebration of flesh and the tactile has strong physical connotations – hence the spate of nude selfies (started by Kim Kardashian and Emily Ratajkowski with their mirrored selfie protesting double standards in 2016); the growth of nudity in advertising; explicit graphics such as Bompas & Parr’s typeface Grope Sans, based on male and female genitalia; and even a nude restaurant, The Bunyade in London.
Even in the digital world, touch and tactility has become something of a ‘holy grail’. It’s ‘clicks to bricks’ as more and more companies (including Amazon) that started out as online-only enterprises have started to open physical stores as they recognize that human interaction and physical touch is hard if not impossible to replace.
Finding synesthesia and multi-sensorial stimulus in a digital/virtual world is the next big step for technology. ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response, a relaxing mental state characterized by a tingling sensation on the scalp, is playing a key role.
Remember, touch is the first sense humans develop in the womb, even when 1.5cm embryos. But, somewhere in adulthood, what was instinctive to us as children has come to feel awkward and out of bounds less such tactile actions provoke legal action.

Sensing this deficit, a touch industry is burgeoning in Europe and the US, where professional ‘cuddlers’ operate workshops, parties and one-to-one sessions to soothe the touch-deprived. In Japan, a “Tranquility chair” has been developed, its soft arms wrapping the sitter in a floppy embrace. So, we hope that this issue of Viewpoint Design will make its own tactile contribution to redressing the balance.

THE POWER OF TOUCH
Our theme for this issue is ‘Tactility’. We explore what it means to be human in an age where our interaction with the world is frequently moderated by the digital and the virtual, with little room for real contact.
DESIGNING TACTILITY
How can we design for a tactile world? Our four directions unpack different design approaches Flesh/Digital Reality/Messy Play/Luxe Touch
THE MASTERS OF TACTILITY
We profile some of the leading creatives who are embedding tactility into their work Imprimerie du Marais / Yves Béhar / Formafantasma / Visual Editions / Dimore Studio
GOO GLORIOUS GOO
Kelia Anne takes inspiration from the current obsession with slime and goo, which appeals to children as well as kidults.
MINDSET SHIFTS
We report on emerging behavioural and attitudinal lifestyle trends: Well-centred Living / Changing the Gaze / Slow Skills / Millenial Parenting
HYPER REAL TACTILITY
Brendi LW creates curious, texturally satisfying compositions that play with our perceptions of the real and artificial.
MATERIAL INNOVATION
Meet the designers and makers who are radically rethinking materials for a sustainable future Living Materials / Shit, Hair, Dust / Today‘s Waste, Tomorrow‘s Raw Material.
DESIGN NOTEBOOK
A visual exploration of emerging design movements across the lifestyle industries and their influence on colour, shape and form 70s Revival / Tubular / Plastic Activist/ Iridescence / Solid Mesh.
REGULAR FEATURES

‘Edit’ – the creative industry round-up featuring the new stories that you need to gen up on; ‘Talent’ the designers who are putting tactility and physical interaction at the forefront of their work.

Textile View #121

PARTICULAR

We have crossed the frontier. 2018 will see major growth in the use of Artificial Intelligence as a tool to re-shape the fashion business with major AI innovations to be expected in predictive forecasting, capacity planning, merchandising, automated production and delivery. However, the possibilities with AI go much further than that as developments move its potential way beyond the mechanical into the creative. For example, Amazon is on the verge of creating the first AI designer, with the development of an algorithm that designs clothes by analysing images, copying popular styles and using them to build completely new designs. Meanwhile, enriched data will allow for new opportunities in customer relationship management, improving customer insights and, last but not least, much more reliable demand projection thereby reducing forecasting errors. Twenty percent of executives who took part in the Business of Fashion-McKinsey Global Fashion Survey believe that the use of AI to reinvent design, merchandising and marketing” will be an important trend. However, there is still a significant number who remain dubious about AI’s lack of flexibility and intuition for it to be a major player in fashion’s deep creative process. This division of thinking is at the forefront of our A/W 19/20 forecasts where we ask the question: Should the fashion industry be led by algorithms?” and make a strong case for accidental fashion. Above all, we look at fabrics as tools serving fashion as a whole, enabling designers as well as users to mash up looks, to create their own interpretation of garments.

City view A/W 17/18
Our city of the moment is Vancouver. This city, associated with an outdoor lifestyle and the launch of athleisure-wear the world over, is undergoing somewhat of a luxury boom.
 
Womenswear inspirations: Spring/Summer 2019
The season sees a strengthening of the movement towards responsible design, marking out a transparent production trail and asking ethical questions along the way.
Womenswear colours: Spring/Summer 2019
Our new summer colours continue to echo the mood of change in fashion and offer a palette that can explore different aesthetics and is adaptable and fluid enough to meet differing needs.
Womenswear Key Looks: Spring/Summer 2019
There remains an atmosphere of change and the fashion industry needs to be watchful of peripheral influences. Our attention for S/S 19 is drawn to both high and low stimuli at opposite ends of the design spectrum.
Casualwear colours and styling: Spring/Summer 2019
How do you feel? Really. How do your emotions affect your daily interactions, your choices, your life?
Menswear styling, colours and fabrics: Spring/Summer 2019
We explore themes that range from the melancholy and sensual, the nostalgic and child-like to untold tales found in historic interior references. We end with a vibrant and joyful theme that is indicative of hope.
Womenswear and menswear fabric and colour forecast: Autumn/Winter 19/20
Should the fashion industry be led by algorithms? We make a strong case for accidental design, wherein a designer wishes his or her work to achieve a specific goal, but ends up achieving another.
Print design forecast: Autumn/Winter 19/20
Design is the essence of fashion. Colour is the expression�of Sein”. The capital of beauty should not be scraped o the floor of social media, but whole heartedly embraced and invested in. Felt, smelt, touched and heard…
Knitwear forecast: Autumn/Winter 19/20
Forms follow structures and natural shapes emerge from an interplay of ribs, and multi textured stripings re-delineate classics.