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Interview with Neil Elliott from Patternbank

july 14, 2017

Patternbank logo

We’re so excited to be teaming up with Patternbank again this year- the world’s leading online textile design studio for print, pattern and trend forecasting – to deliver hot Spring/Summer 2018 trends for this year’s Summer School (which starts July 31st).

We wanted to give you an insight into their world and why they are such a fantastic resource for designers, so today we’re delighted to share this interview with Neil Elliott, Trends & Insight Expert from Patternbank!

NeilElliott_PatternbankNeil Elliott from Patternbank

  • Could you tell us a bit about your background?

I studied at Derby University specialising in weave. My career so far has seen me meander through many different facets of the fashion and design industry. Prior to Patternbank, I held the position of Head of Trends and Insights at Avery Dennison RBIS where I supplied trend forecast reports, market analysis and global insights to large global clients such as The Gap, Adidas, Hugo Boss, Uniqlo, Nike, M&S and Levi.

Before this I held the position of Senior Print & Graphics Editor at online trend service Stylesight. Other previous creative roles included, Graphics Manager for Timberland global apparel and Senior Graphics Editor at WGSN.

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  • What took you into the world of trends?

I’ve always been a visual image gatherer. I believe if you have a good eye you can curate certain trends that are emerging. I first stumbled into the trends forecasting industry whist working for WGSN some 18 years ago. WGSN is now the industry leader in online trend service so I was there to see it grow and innovate from day one. I was laying out the trend boards for the forecast team and a position came up as Graphic & Print Editor so I jumped right in. With my industry knowledge I was able to transform the Print & Graphics area to one of the highest hit departments of the entire site.

animal_garden by Angelo Artimus.jpgAnimal Garden by Angelo Artimus

  • What is it exactly that Patternbank does?

Patternbank is the world’s leading online print studio for print, pattern and trend forecasting. The Patternbank print studio houses an extensive collection of over 25,000 designs for instant download and use. Giving buyers access to browse the collection via carefully curated trend stories, design categories, colour groups or license formats.

The Patternbank designer database is the largest online community of global textile designers, giving the collection a unique and varied aesthetic. The studio is updated everyday with new trend relevant designs. We started the site as an inspiration blog to fuel and creatively inspire designers and buyers throughout all areas of the design industry. We then added affordable trend reports for customers to purchase and download. We now have the 3 areas working side by side – trends x inspiration x designs! What more could you want!

New Navarro by Angelo.jpgNew Navarro by Angelo

  • Why is it so important for the people you serve and what is it that you do that’s so special?

As mentioned before we offer 3 unique things that are all focused towards print & pattern. Our team have a super focused and well trained eye to spot creatively inspiring features, emerging print trends and the ability to curate an inspirational collection of designs that appear on the print studio.

Watermelon by Irina Fominykh.jpgWatermelon by Irina Fominykh

  • Can you tell us a bit more about Patternbank?

The team is fairly small with a HQ in South London and Devon. We have a senior level team from the textiles & fashion industry with 30 years industry experience. Our textile design community are the true heroes of the site. We now have the largest online community of global textile designers uploading onto the site everyday. We are on the constant hunt for new designers so feel free to visit the ‘become a seller’ page of the site to find out more info!

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  • Can you name drop a few of the big companies who use your site and give us an insight into what sort of patterns seem to be most popular right now & for what markets?

Again we have a large and varied customer base from all corners of the globe. Mark & Spencer, ASOS, Wal-mart, Forever21, Asics and Monsoon have all purchased designs & trend reports from the studio. Things that are selling well at the moment are anything tropical, summer ethnic prints and dark gothic midnight florals for Autumn/Winter.

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  • Do you have any major success stories you can share with us regarding designers on your site and where their work has featured?

Every now and then we see one of our designer’s prints pop up on social media. We recently saw an Asics print by Simonetta Des Simone on Olympian Queen Harrison. We used our Instagram account to spread the word.

Asics print by Simonetta Des Simone on Olympian Queen HarrisonAsics print by Simonetta Des Simone on Olympian Queen Harrison

  • Could you give us a bit of an idea as to how Patternbank go about predicting trends? Where do they come from? What kind of information do they go out and look for in the world?

Our trends team looks to a plethora of sources to discover emerging trends. Everything from new brands, catwalk, film & TV, architecture, underground youth culture, current trends, future technologies, the art world and new exhibitions are all researched. From this mass of information gathered the Patternbank trends team take a step back and trace any common threads or themes to build our trend forecasts.

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  • There are so many great functions on the website. What would you say are the key things designers should know about your site?

As discussed before we have commercial print trends that buyers and designers can use to keep track of what’s happening. These trends can then be focused towards specific designs that have real commerciality. Patternbank’s aim is to develop the site to be the world’s leading online print studio and website for buyers & designers – a destination where you can gain inspiration, gather trend info and purchase beautiful print designs all in one place.

Linear_florals by Adela Webb.jpgLinear Florals by Adela Webb

  • What would you say to designers about the importance of staying on top of trends?

Knowing what trends are coming through is key to any print designer. It’s down to the designer to evaluate which trends work with their specific style. Being commercial is not a dirty word it just means your prints have relevance to a certain market or product. Keeping up with trends also feeds your creativity and keeps you on your toes for the next big thing coming over the hill.

Exotic_pattern by Natalia Tyulkina.jpgExotic Pattern by Natalia Tyulkina

  • What’s your personal favourite trend?

It’s hard to select one particular trend that is my favourite. I love vintage prints, which are always a rich source of trend inspiration, whether it’s ornate florals or large scale palm prints.

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  • Looking ahead, what’s next for you & Patternbank?

Patternbank has some exciting developments happening later this year. The site is getting a new update so buyers can scale and visualise designs on a multitude of different products, including wallpaper, trainers, shirts, bags and phone covers. We have other exciting collaborations and new developments planned for 2017 – inspiring and creative times are ahead.

For more information, or to sign up and sell your work 24/7 in the studio visit www.patternbank.com

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Find out more about the hottest online design event this summer: ‘The Make it in Design Summer School‘ featuring Patternbank and Fashion Formula. Starts July 31, 2017 – Join us today!

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