For a long time now we've stopped publishing new silk designs before they come back to us - not out of fear of being copied, it was more just the time constraint that it placed on us.
On the design below, however, I'd love to get some feedback. It's a repeat and it's quite loud and very different from anything we've done in the past. The basic themes I have been looking at recently are hand-drawing, square tiles, curvatures and graffiti. Graffiti is probably the most interesting area of design I have been using for inspiration. I have for some time been pulling down inspirational images from brick walls between New York and Rome (the Italians have a lot of graffiti) and also looking at pop/street art in that context - especially Jean-Michel Basquiat.
To say that there is a narrative to these designs would be a lie. I merely start with things that I find interesting or beautiful - as was the case with the ziggurats I spoke of earlier in the year. Once I have found a well of inspiration, I draw as much water as I can before putting pen to paper or else pen tool to Illustrator artboard.
In the design below the focus was to make the centre piece fit right to the four corners to create a tesselation which joined at the four corners to create the print. The initial sketch was done using a stylus and an iPad, then it was exported into Adobe Illustrator where the shape was then vectorised.
You will never be able to determine what the end result will look like but you have some idea. If the square is made too small, the nature of those sharp lines and cuts will not translate, if you make it too large, it will not repeat well inside the confines of a bow tie (all our silks are design with the bow tie in mind).
Then finally the concern becomes the colours and what will work on warp and weft. You might be chasing something pop-ish but then you need to think about the end user and what he might be willing to tie around his neck and still be confident it will work with his suit and shirt. If you get it wrong, you may find you end up selling the last of the silk as eye-shades for wives and girlfriends.
It's a tricky game, and one in which your confidence needs to be checked in case you've gone too far but then you can't be passive either, for playing to the crowd will make you like every other Tom, Dick and Harry. And, I never want any of our customers to feel like any old Tom, Dick or Harry.