This year I made the decision that I want to inspire myself as much as possible.  I aim to create unique product for my clients, see what is going on overseas in trends, color, and marketing in the fashion world. I enjoy not just looking at shoes, but apparel, accessories, furniture, and generally just people watch. There is nothing more fun than sitting at a café with your sketch pad, sketching or writing  your  ideas,  walking around the city with your camera taking pictures, and checking out all the shops and seeing what is going on in fashion.  Traveling to different countries is a must for a designer! So, I decided to pack my bags and trek out to material shows and shop Europe.

My first trip started with going to Portland for their materials show. Although, this show is small and is more athletic based than fashion, there were definitely some great suppliers. One supplier I enjoyed was Omnipel (www.omnipel.com) I really enjoyed their array of products and diversity of high tech and fashion materials, specifically textiles. The colors, prints, and overall quality is great. They are a European company that designs in Italy but makes products out of China, which can keep the price relatively down. I am very much looking forward to receiving my swatches very soon.

Another supplier I was really  inspired by is Ecco Leathers. They had the most beautiful camel leather, leathers that were amazingly soft and lightly shimmered, metallic’s that put to shame many metallic’s out there. The prices are great and have different ranges. I guess what more can you ask for from Ecco. As a company they always demand excellence.

Leathers by Ecco

Leathers by Ecco

My friend Jason Brown also represents a company called Shan Been Jeou, and I was quite surprised to find some great fashion pu’s and leather from them. It’s definitely worth checking out.

I really liked their print and textured leathers and pu's.

I really liked their print and textured leathers and pu's.

Right after the Portland Material Show, I went over to Bologna, Italy, and attended Lineapelle.  Talk about a candy store for designers and anyone who works with product. I can’t tell you how much I love this trade show. The show is complete and utter inspiration.  As you walk in, all you see are rows and rows of beautiful color palettes of textiles, uber luxe leathers, price point leathers and pu’s , hardware lasts, heels, wedges, trims and the list goes on and on.

I was amazed of how color is playing such a strong role in fashion in seasons to come…Hot Pink, Turquoise, Green, Orange. It’s all about brights.

I think the number one print I saw in both textiles, natural fibers, and leather was leopard. Leopard was EVERY WHERE. It was unstoppable. The leopard was played out differently which was refreshing.  The print was large, or slightly juxtaposed to look like leopard and it left you wondering, pony leopard, foiled leopard, leopard on natural fibers like raffia or woven material, laser leopard. I also loved how some of the companies sampled the shoes, mixing small leopard with bigger leopard print in monotone colors. It was quite exquisite. Here was one of my favorite suppliers- Abip in Italy.

Leopard in small print and sporadic. Also, in pony.

Leopard in small print and sporadic. Also, in pony.

Leopard but less obvious and uber large.

Leopard but less obvious and large.Other stand out trends include:

I am enclosing some  stand out trends  below and am still awaiting more swatches so perhaps I will include those in the future.  I will have to say what stands out the most to me is the natural products trends with natural leathers, hardware, wood, shells, raffia, basket weaving, braiding. It was great to see these all brought in mixing some of the fashion elements you will see below.  I hope to be getting those swatches soon!

Colorful suedes- I loved this one by Richard Hoffman and prices are pretty good!

Colorful suedes- I loved this one by Richard Hoffman and prices are pretty good!

Tribal prints

Tribal prints

Transfer studs and rhinestones

Transfer studs and rhinestones

Vege tan leathers also by Adige

Vege tan leathers by Adige

Foil flowers or design on natural materials

Foil flowers or design on natural materials

Distressed leathers- This is by Adige

Distressed leathers by Adige

Zebra

Zebra

Various animal prints like tiger, cow, ostrich

Various animal prints like tiger, cow, ostrich

Flower prints stamped on pony, pu's with embroidered flowers, flowers embossing and laser etched on leathers, and flowers printed on natural fibrous materials

Flower prints stamped on pony, pu's with embroidered flowers, flowers embossing and laser etched on leathers, and flowers printed on natural fibrous materials

Window pane plaids in colorful brights.

Window pane plaids in colorful brights.

I loved seeing all the denim finished leathers, nubucks, suede. It was truly beautiful. Farway it looked like a pair of Acne Jeans but when you got close, it was an amazingly soft leather in different finishes, washes, and colors.

I loved seeing all the denim finished leathers, nubucks, suede. It was truly beautiful. Farway it looked like a pair of Acne Jeans but when you got close, it was an amazingly soft leather in different finishes, washes, and colors.

Perfed/Laser cut natural leathers.

Perfed/Laser cut natural leathers.

Natural fibrous materials

Natural fibrous materials

Distressed leathers with fur. Ridculously soft from Pistolesi SRL

Distressed leathers with fur. Ridiculously soft from Pistolesi SRL.