Have you noticed that so many trends these days seem to start with blogs? I'm not trying to toot my own horn here; I'm most definitely just a trend-noticer and not even a trend-follower, let alone a trend-setter. But I do read a lot of blogs and I have been noticing. Take chevron stripes, for example.
Oh look, this blogger has made a chevron picnic blanket, this one has a chevron throw draped over her couch, and that one has made herself a maxi skirt in bold chevron stripes. Suddenly, chevron is all over the Internet, and everybody loves it. Fast forward a few months, then open up a magazine like In Style or Vogue Living. What's on the runway? Chevron! What's that new trend that will "add a bold splash to liven up your living space"? Chevron! Wait a few more months, maybe a year. Oh hello, clothing chain stores and discount department stores, is that mannequin in your window wearing chevron stripes, par chance?
When you think about it, it makes sense. Before blogs, designers went to markets and explored other cultures and turned to artists for inspiration. They still do that. Only these days, a lot of those market stall-holders and artists and people from thousands of different cultures also have blogs. So designers can take a look at what they are doing, online. And for anyone who works in trends (fashion and interior design for example), this is a fantastic opportunity. Because not only can they see what creative people from all over the world are doing, they can also watch - almost in real time - how a decent-sized body of readers responds to each new idea.
I was part of a group of bloggers who had the opportunity to hear from a Target Senior Stylist last week, a lovely man by the name of Ti who talked to us about the process he and his team would take when it came to designing new lines for Target's nursery range. And that process was almost bang-on with what I've just described.
They looked at blogs, of course, which Ti said were particularly helpful. "Because parents put lots of pictures of their babies on their blogs, so we can see what the babies are wearing, how their parents style their nurseries, and what's popular." They also visited markets, all over the world. Then of course they read the popular magazines, watched the TV shows, and so on.
It was really quite fascinating to hear what Ti had to say. For a big retailer like Target, they're not ever going to push the envelope or be first with the trends. But what they are going to do is try to read the trends and stay up-to-date with them, providing consumers with a mix of more traditional lines alongside those that are a little more contemporary.
Ti also gave us a sneak peek into what we'll start to see in Target's nursery range during the coming months. Would you like a hint?
Triangles are the new chevron (go figure!). Sweet, quilted-style blankets that double up, on the reverse side, as bright and vibrant play-mats. Bold and beautiful clouds printed onto super-soft blankets, in blue, pink and grey. Cute-as-pie dachshund prints and splashes of neon accents. Prints that pay homage to vintage toys like tin robots and rocket ships. Owls and pussy-cats. A colourful jack-in-the-box toy that, when it finally bursts open, reveals a Very Hungry Caterpillar.
As for colours, look out for new nursery things in teal, lavender, lime and coral, alongside the traditional blues, pinks, yellows and creams.
Some of these will be all over every store in Australia. Others will be tested in just a few places at first, to see how people respond to them. Based on consumer responses, they'll revisit, rework, and try again.
One more thing:
I was not paid to write this post. At the end of the event we did receive a goodie bag, which was very sweet and generous. However, there was no expectation or requirement that we blog about this (although I'm sure they hoped we would).
I've been to similar events in the past, and chosen not to write a post. I blogged about it this time because I thought it was quite interesting to learn about the creative process behind designing a range of homewares or clothing for a big retailer, as well as learning about what's up-and-coming for the future, and I thought you might think so, too.