The Corona pandemic is still keeping us on tenterhooks, but the world will returning to normal and consumption. However, a change in customer attitudes is to be expected in the process. Forecasts speak of mindful, social consumption and enjoyment behavior, a return to what is really important. Does the more conscious behavior of buyers have an influence on the lace business? How is demand changing, and what general trends can be expected? Ulrike Schlenker of Karl Mayer Group, Obertshausen/Germany, asked lace expert Neil Thorpe, managing director and founder of Neil Thorpe Lace Design & Draughting, Nottingham/UK, these and other questions about the future of lace.
In the post-Corona era, there is a strong focus on the twin themes of comfort and sustainability. This shows up more in a shift in thinking than in a trend but it has a big impact on the kind of designs and drawings that are demanded by the customers. Consumers want garments that look and feel soft and environmentally conscious. That's why we're working more on designs with a natural cotton look and drawings that are straightforward to make with more ethically accepted yarns like modal.
Fabrics should look as natural as possible. The color scheme plays an important role in this. Beige, white and cream in particular indicate minimal use of dyes and, therefore, give the impression of an environmentally conscious garment.
Lighter yarns are in vogue, bourdon corduroy designs are less in demand. Due to the aforementioned desire for more environmentally conscious and natural patterns, lighter lurex yarns have fallen a bit out of favor as they are perceived as somewhat plastic. Yarn selection is of vital importance for the future of the lingerie industry. We need a wider selection of sustainable yarns here.
(Source: Karl Mayer)
The desire for less waste and more durable fashion has increased the demand for timeless aesthetics like florals. Of course, the challenge for us is to create classic designs that still excite the modern consumer. For refreshing patterns, we keep the flowers small or medium in size and experiment with sophisticated edge designs and new techniques.
Our customers have recently opted for some heavier patterns, as crochet and pinhole embroidery patterns are very popular and allow for a high percentage of cotton or similar yarns. However, the trend is towards more delicate patterns. Lightweight yarns, especially in the ground, however, present a particular challenge in terms of environmental compatibility. Therefore, much depends on the development of new fibers and the adaptation of the lapping technique to these fibers when creating our drawings.
Regarding machine performance, we often get feedback from our customers that buyers see the offset pillar stitch for the stitch stop as a flaw in the fabric. We would welcome a new development that offers the proven function without the visual detriment.
As for the yarn, a wider, more readily available supply of sustainable yarns is definitely needed to meet the demand for more conscious fashion. As pattern drafters, we would like to see the development of an improved lustrous yarn that, when combined with elastane, is not prone to slipping and looping, as is the case with lurex.