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Q+A MEET THE SUPER TALENTED PRINT DESIGNER + TREND CONSULTANT LUCY MERRIMAN

Meet Print Designer and Trend Consultant Lucy Merriman.

Based in London, Lucy’s studio has designed and created for many of the worlds largest brands. Inspired by innovation, colour and a natural curiosity for the future, its a pleasure to feature her inspiring story on this weeks Designer Q+A series…

Why did you choose to be a Designer and Why Sports / Athleisure?

Pattern and colour has been something I have been drawn to from a young age. I realised at school I was quite competent at drawing and painting and spent many hours in the art block at school.  The turning point was when I was 15 years old,  I was lucky enough to know Sally Greaves-Lord, a contemporary textile designer who studied at the RCA in the 80’s, she was a huge inspiration, I found myself sitting in her flat one day, helping her with abstract papier-mâché structures for an Issey Miyake window display. From then onwards my mind was made up, I was going to study art and textiles to become a designer.  With the growth of the activewear market over the last few years, it has been a natural progression, moving from fashion towards sports and athleisure, I find this dynamic area suits my style of handwriting for print.

Where did you learn your craft?

I studied my degree and Textile Design at Nottingham Trent where I spent most of my time creating large mixed media paintings then translating them into print with embroidery. The facilities and industrial machinery where exceptional, it was an exciting time to be innovative and experiment with new processes.  I approached my work very much from a ‘fine art’ perspective; it was really when I began to work in the industry that I learnt to design print and understood the importance of trend research on a commercial level.

What Inspires you the most?

So many things, but I would say the breath and wealth of the visual arts, fine art, contemporary art.  I always draw inspiration from this area.  I am currently interested in contemporary light installation artists and the powerful interaction between light and colour.

How do you tune out the noise and focus on the trends?

The industry is so fast moving now with influencers and social media driving trends. There is an overload of changing content so when researching, it is important to look closer at the shifts and patterns in culture and design as well as the obvious trends coming through on the catwalk. When spotting emerging trends, you also have to use your intuition and go with your instinct. It is important not to directly follow but to re-create them with a new outlook, and re-design the future.

When did you discover your “Eye for Colour!” - Often under-estimated, Colour is an inherent skill, and a Powerful gift?

Again, I think it was at school and on Art Foundation where tutors commented on my use of colour, I find it’s very intuitive. The power of colour plays an important role in the design process, our emotional response to colour and how it affects moods, feelings and behaviours are fundamental.

There have been so many innovations in the Sportswear industry, what new technologies have disrupted the market the most?

I think digitization has to be the most noted, the disruption of how products are made to how they are marketed and sold.  From AI, robotics and automation, technology is changing everything.  The digital world has seen advances in performance fabrics, wearable technology and also how we interact with sport, for example this season Ispo showcased an interactive sports floor, a glass floor using an interactive video screen, technology like this has a huge potential.  Brands will have to adapt to this digital transformation and its possibilities.

Why did you decide to set up your own studio?

When I left college I moved to London where I was offered a studio space in Hackney. It was the early 90’s so rents were cheap which encouraged an underground culture and artistic scene in the area.  I shared the space with other textile based designers, it was a thriving workshop with a huge loom and industrial knitting machine. Being in this environment inspired me to set up my own business. I enrolled on the Government Enterprise Scheme which was an initiative at that time to help young people set up in business.

Initially a designer-maker, I built a print table and started silk screen printing designs by hand in the Hoxton studio, making silk accessories for the fashion market. 

What’s next for Lucy Merriman?

With a closer parallel between fashion and interiors, I’d love to expand into designing for the interior market.  My partner is a photographer and filmmaker, and we often talk about ideas to combine our skills and set up a joint venture.  We have been looking into the experience market and researching the use of lighting technology and colour.

If you could design one product for the future….what would that be?

That’s a difficult one… I would like to see an increased use in natural fibres using contemporary design and modern manufacturing techniques. For example a sustainable replacement to polyester that is fully biodegradable. 

The industry is shifting towards sustainability, the future has to change.  It would be a great opportunity to design and produce such a product in the UK to increase its environmental credentials.