Last week I went to the London Print Design Fair 🎨with Potterton Books 📚who were exhibiting. This was rather a fun affair. The idea behind it is, if you are designing or product developing clothing or accessories 👠👗, you either need inspiration for your next collection, or you need to purchase prints to use. So people such a Topshop 👠and Next 👗and M & S 👘 potter along and browse the prints – you can either buy them exclusively, and no one else can use that print – it is yours, but it’s pricey 💰, or you buy a print design and hope your competitor 🙏 doesn’t have the same idea.
We were rather different – Potterton Books 📚 bring along many 1940s 💃 hand painted prints, and original fabrics – you can buy the originals, and you can even buy a whole fabric book 📓. We also reproduce them in booklets 📘📗, so you can buy a booklet full of prints, but there is the risk that someones else might be using the same idea. We suggest you don’t reproduce the print exactly – copyright can be difficult, but there is nothing to stop you changing the colours💛💙, or the design very slightly and using it as your own.
Most other people exhibiting produce their own ‘exclusive prints’ for you to buy and use in your next collection.
It was truly fascinating – NO PHOTOS ALLOWED 📷❌ – everyone was quite tetchy 🙅. I did catch a lady surreptitiously photographing some of our prints and she scarpered pretty quickly 🙆. And designers and buyers are sneaky – they call up and say – ‘the print we were looking at earlier, my boss wants to see it, could you send a photo?’ 💁 Well, not really, because then you have the image without having purchased it…. iPhones 📱and digital cameras 📷do make it trickier.
There were all sorts there – designers 👦, students 👧, buyers 👩, and we had a lovely chat with a lady who is an artist 🙋🎨. She paints designs, the printing companies buy them, reproduce them and sell them to designers, who then use them for their collections. She said she has, on occasion, spotted someone on the street wearing a skirt or top with her original design 💃🎨.
My favourite part was the vintage clothing 👗 section. So these vintage sellers buy individual pieces, and then sell them on to designers – Topshop 👠 can buy a vintage garment and either reproduce it exactly, use the pattern or design, or just use it for inspiration. We had a chat with Samantha at Miniola, who also very kindly allowed me to photograph 📷💃 some of her clothing. What I find fun about it, is that because the pieces they acquire aren’t for your normal vintage retail consumer, they can go a bit off the rail. There were some truly marvellous items of clothing – I rather wanted to buy some 👰.
It was a very interesting day – and rather makes me want to become a product developer, perhaps for a small company, and take inspiration from all sorts of exciting things.