Art is considered a barometer of civilization, and though museums around the world are closed for an unknown amount of time, contemporary artists are sharing their new work across social media.
Looking to art for print and pattern inspiration, in a recent webinar trend forecasting firm Fashion Snoops pinpointed themes that will trickle into textile and fashion design in the next 18 months.
Emotions perpetuated by COVID-19 like anxiety, fear, loneliness and optimism are being expressed in new artwork, said Lisa McCandless, Fashion Snoops creative director of patterns and graphics. Some are dark and macabre with a sense impending doom; others are nostalgic and idyllic with visually stimulating and uplifting color and shapes.
And while conversations about climate change, sustainability, mental health and acceptance have weighed heavily on prints and patterns for several seasons, these emotions, McCandless said, are heightened by the state we’re currently in and will be expressed in new print and pattern motifs created during this unprecedented time.
Here’s a closer look at how art in a pandemic is inspiring prints and patterns for fashion.
From rounded, retro shapes to Renaissance-like bouquets, artists are depicting florals in their artwork.
“It reminds me of how, in the past, we use daisies and corals during war times such as Vietnam and how much impact that made on the community,” said Rachel Gentner, Fashion Snoops pattern and graphics editor.
Florals and foliage are on track to become prominent print and pattern motifs. “It’s definitely about immersing yourself and loving nature, which we are so drastically missing,” McCandless said. There will also be an emphasis on printing these earthy prints on natural materials in a manufacturing process that is also nature inspired, she said.
Florals also bring a sense of optimism and renewal. “Seeing florals rise again reminds us it is spring and we will be outside soon,” Gentner said. “There’s something to look forward to.”
Artists are sending more pointed messages in their work. “Typography is super important right now because we’re all alone and we have this internal voice running like we’re all in our own little movies, but when you see it written out it reminds you that we’re alone here,” Gentner said.
Visually, for fashion, that comes through with typography about emotional states. And also in art form through illustrations that are a vulnerable, open and executed in a messy manner, McCandless described.
This motif, she added, is especially in tune with where we’re currently at. “We have a lot of time in our own mind right now,” she said.
Traditional art is becoming more appealing to the contemporary market and a younger demographic. “Younger people are really interested in the Masters—the true inventors of the craft,” McCandless said.
That interest in tradition is being carried into fashion, which has seen designers with a streetwear pedigree like Virgil Abloh and Demna Gvasalia explore tailoring in recent collections.
Though this traditional style of dressing and classic patterns have been around for centuries, McCandless said they will be continuing in reinvented ways. Expect to see checks and plaids made with new proportions and modern colorways, albeit executed with a long shelf life in mind.
“We’ve seen a lot of Renaissance and Baroque inspirations and I think that ties in with this,” she said. “A lot of them have histories and textiles that have a deep history in quality.” This, McCandless added, will resonate with consumers as more will be buying more for longevity.