Trends & Inspiration

We are interested in what fabric can bring to life. Our blog is a celebration of the lifestyle, culture and design that influences what we do.

Colour has an indescribable influence that can elevate, excite, or induce calm, and relaxation. Its emotive impact is endless which defines it as a key element when introducing colour into your home.   

It's becoming increasing apparent that our preoccupation with considered slow living, digital technologies, and the environment are influencing colour. And this is not necessarily related to actual colour shades, but the ways of its creation which are revealing new experiences in colour. These experiences are being explored by designers and artists. An example being the emerging development of naturally derived, low-impact dyes and pigments that will become common place and will add inherent calming benefits in textiles.  

The following outlines our colour forecast for this year that draws influence from innovations in colour manufacturing, the environment, digital advancements, and design concepts that will come to the forefront. 

Have you wondered how a recognised pattern starts and defines a historic period or nationality? Patterns and repeated mark making was first depicted in cave paintings amongst many Neolithic cultures. Ancient civilisations from Egypt, Middle East, China, and India created hieroglyphics and patterns that reflected the world around them. These designs were influenced by numerous areas of life from architecture, customs, dress, religious ceremonies, and creative traditions. Their style of mark making would often become a recognised emblem of their civilisation.

Staying indoors more regularly has encouraged many of us to increase comfort within our homes. This focus on improving our private spaces has come in many forms such as redecorating, adding comfortable furniture, de cluttering (and practising minimalism), reconfiguring a space to align with beliefs such as feng shui, or completely renovating a house. However, when those four walls start to close in further, why not create an outdoor addition to your home – a space that is completely yours for work, reflection, or leisure with the added bonus of vitamin D. This outdoor addition doesn’t only need to apply to the home, but hospitality venues can also greatly benefit from sun drenched outdoor dining areas. And we all know that outdoor entertainment is greatly favoured right now.  

Trends are often transient, leaving small impressions that mark moments in time that are forgotten but are sometimes appreciated again through the post-modern cycle.  There is one aesthetic however that is fundamentally triggering for most textiles’ enthusiasts, and instantly transports a person to a comforting memory. An appreciation for the imperfect, untouched, natural, appliqué accents, embroidery, and hand painting are making more of an impact. This romantic shift can be viewed as an extension of other recent trends that have also gained traction such as ‘Wabi Sabi’, and ‘Cocooning’. However, the ‘handmade’ or ‘artisanal’ approach has more emphasis on the process of the fabric creation.  Viewing closely how yarns are unwieldly woven, embroidery designs created, appliqué fragments attached all with mesmerising and skewed imperfection.

There is a strong belief that velvet fabrics are high-maintenance and need to be shielded from the demands of heavy use. This couldn’t be further from the truth, in particular with Zepel’s velvet fabrics. 

We put this ill-informed theory to the test to see why velvets had a reputation for being delicate.   We engineered methods of textile construction to create stronger velvet fabrics that are still plush and inviting to touch. Man-made fibres, such as polyester, ensure durability and longevity without sacrificing that beautiful handle inherent in natural fibres. 

Careful planning and testing resulted in the creation of our high-performance velvet fabrics.  They are not only fire-retardant but are ready for high-traffic areas such as hotel lobbies and hospitality venues. 

Thanks to the Industrial Revolution, velvet became a regular sight in the hospitality sector. During the 1900s, glamorous hotels, bars and restaurants were draped with velvet and typically upholstered chaise lounges and dining chairs. The fabric was exemplified with the fashion conscious, artists, musicians, and middle to upper class. During the 1920s velvet optimised a society rich in culture, economy, and music appreciation, particularly ‘Jazz’. A response to the recovery of a devastating war, the 20s flung open the doors to elaborate dance clubs and music venues.  The Savoy Ballroom, Cotton Club and Apollo Theatre were a part of this growing fascination with velvet furnishings, and its profound impact on representing luxury and cultural sophistication. Devoré velvet dresses also made a regularly appearance in fashion and dance venues.    

It was not only it’s chic aura that made it popular in venues, but it’s inherent ability to assist with sound absorption. With big bands such as the Chick Webb ensemble featuring vocalist Ella Fitzgerald, and the Count Basie Band playing regularly at these venues, the roaring sound was softened by rooms covered in velvets. Today however, our velvets include so many more high-performance qualities. 

Characterised by its luxurious pile, velvet is a wonder in any interior environment, especially when it’s durable, fire-retardant, and extremely soft. 

The rich and extensive history of velvet is equally interesting. It’s difficult to determine when velvet was first created but could be as early as 2000 BC in Ancient Egypt as piled textiles have been discovered at archaeological sites. In text, it was first recorded in the years 691-743 AD in Arabic literature in the courts of Damascus, Syria. It was believed to be referred by the name ‘kutuf’ and presented in carpets and robes worn among members of the court. Via the silk road, velvet is believed to have arrived in Europe near the year 1311 AD and recorded as being used in possessions owned by Pope Clement V. It then quickly evolved as being regarded as a luxury fabric. 

No matter what happens, 2021 is set to be a fascinating year as we see changes in our home and working lives and, rejuvenating our homes to suit the current mood.

Across the world many of us have embraced elements of the popular tradition of ‘Wabi Sabi’ by incorporating the Japanese aesthetic for rustic minimalism into our lives through fashion, art and interiors to create a more stress-free environment.

It’s a common thread throughout the interiors world – one of turning our homes into a haven like retreat – somewhere to relax in a calming space, that is attractive to many of us after the ups and downs of 2020.

Part two of this article explores the more recent approaches to wallpaper production delving into the refinements made in technical processes, and the influence of history and art on current wallpaper artistry. 

In this two-part series, we will provide a brief history on the evolution of wallpaper highlighting the various methods of production, technical advancements along with the impacts of manufacturer, style, and consumer trends.