Scan HTP A / S has visited Heimtextil in Frankfurt (January 2019), which this year presented over 3,000 exhibitors and many different interpretations of trends in the market for home textiles for the joy and inspiration for 67,500 visitors from 156 countries. We came home with a diverse impression of the trends of the time, although there were a bit far between groundbreaking exhibitions.
Have we all become trendsetters?
A commercial agenda marked the fair, with patterns, colors and trends going in all directions. You get the impression that trends are created on Pinterest and Instagram and not by upcoming designers who have created something new. But isn’t that okay?
It is clear that it requires a change in our mindsets when we cannot seek the arguments for a given trend by the designer himself and perhaps even concede to the fact that there are no arguments at all. It can be frustrating when the overview fades, because new trends are so wide that it almost feels superficial, but it also opens up new opportunities.
Design at both ends of the aesthetic scale
The most conspicuous trend we met at the fair was, of course, in the print world. Whether you find this new design trend stylish or chaotic, is a matter of taste, but it is not minimalist.
Several layers of print and techniques, for instance jungle print on top of embossed structure on top of embroidery. The effect is almost three-dimensional. It is absurdly beautiful, and the design craftsmanship is impressive. I’m not certain we are embracing this trend in our living rooms right away, but it confirms the far-reaching opportunities that digital printing technology has given us.
At the other end of the aesthetic scale, however, we saw examples from the traditional printing methods. The report size simply limits the possibilities for artistic expression. We saw, for example, a large-flowered print – the flower was beautiful and with fine details, but in a 64 cm template, the expression was very “repeated” and noisy.
The digital printing technology, on the contrary, provides a bloom of detail opportunities and constantly reaches new heights. It is precisely these advanced digital prints that emphasise the limitations of traditional printing methods. And if anything, Heimtextil confirmed that the trend is still print, lots of print.
Will we be able to print on cotton in the future without burdening the environment?
We had hoped to see more innovative news, but Heimtextil is not a technology fair, so we have to arm ourselves with patience and just look forward to sharing a lot of exciting technology trends when visiting FESPA in Munich in May 2019 and ITMA in Barcelona in June 2019.
However, we did not leave completely empty-handed from this year’s Heimtextil in terms of technology. For the first time we saw some really interesting samples of pigment print on cotton. Today, cotton printing requires extensive chemical pre- and post-treatment. This process is anything but sustainable and is not suitable for printing in Denmark, both because the work process requires proportionally many hands, and of course because it stands in clear contrast to a strong rooted decision to care for the environment.
The technology behind printing on cotton has been tried for years, but so far the results have not been impressive. At Heimtextil we saw samples without any pre- or post-treatment, but with beautiful details and colours that seemed to have passed the fastness test. Scan HTP A/S prints on polyester, but first and foremost we are experts in digital printing. We keep an eye on the possibilities and look forward to following the technological development of the pigment print towards possible production.
Upcycling is the new buzzword
Heimtextil also means knowledge sharing about the environment and the current direction for the green segment. There is a strong focus on using recyclable fibres and digital technologies to reduce environmental impact.
The fair expressed a green profile throughout the fair with its “Green Directory”, green marking on the stands and of course the Green Village area, which buzzed with the invitation to network, a competent knowledge forum with the organisations at the forefront and ample opportunity to get an insight in how the retailer will look in the future with a green profile.
However, the new buzzword in the environment is undoubtedly “upcycling”. In upcycling, you not only recycle the materials – you use them in a new way so that the product gets better than it was in its original form. We did not see many concrete examples of the new phenomenon, but we are always interested in new thoughts and initiatives that can draw in an environmentally correct direction. We had hoped to see more and more concrete environmentally friendly technology leaps, but little by little a little becomes a lot …
Heimtextil’s pride “Toward Utopia” offered heavy and coloured fabrics
Heimtextil had in advance promised that in the new trend area “Toward Utopia” you could discover the future. The exhibitions in Utopia were impressive but not revolutionary. There was a clear tendency towards heavy fabrics, bombastic colors and a lot of print, which we recognise from our own order books.
But even though we did not see as much voile and simple design as before, the minimalist style is still alive, and Utopia also offered exhibitions in subdued style in white and natural colors – a pleasant contrast to the slightly exaggerated pump and splendor seen through Scandinavian glasses.
We will keep track of how much space the different styles each get. In general, however, we believe they reflect a broad taste among consumers, who seem more and more to be the ones showing designers and producers the the direction.