“Travel”, a concept that has emerged not only as an inspiration but more importantly as a consumer lifestyle, has influenced fashion trends, current and upcoming, in varied ways. Represented through the key of comfort in loose and utility based garments, taking the culture of famous travel destinations as graphics and textures on textiles, or literally placing images of maps, and passport stamps as prints – the theme of Travel or more aptly termed as ‘Globe Trotter’ by FASHION FORWARD TRENDS, has become an underlining thought of all things Spring/Summer 2014. While the last two seasons were more about UK flags to celebrate the London Olympics and the American flag to boost the nation’s spirits in a downturned economy, the future is more about where you are travelling to, and your native country, in order to reconnect to your roots and rise out of your shell to go on a holiday…

orecasted as one of the most quirky themes for Spring/Summer 2013 by Team FFT last year, the travel inspired look certainly made its presence felt on the international runways and retailers through prints this year. When the stamp print first made its introduction in the collection of Mary Katrantzou’s S/S’13 stamp and coin inspired designs for a collaboration with Current Elliott, the fashion world went awestruck. Following suit was Christopher Raeburn S/S’13 map dress that validated the look. Banking on the freshness of these prints on the runways, high street brands were quick enough to adapt, as Topshop rolled out a traveller trend in full swing with a map-emblazoned bikini, swimsuit and scarf collection that flew off the shelves in no time. Trend spotters knew that very instant, that a new direction towards ‘travel inspired’ fashion was in the making!

Already leaving its footprints in the global markets, and picked up almost simultaneously by Aarti Vijay Gupta, a Mumbai based designer label for the recent Lakme Fashion Week S/S 2013, the Indian runways too saw maps and stamp prints marching down in an Indian spirit. While her prints remained perfectly in line with the trend propelling outside, the inspiration for her collection came from ‘India’ as a famous travel destination. “I did an overall map printed saree, as my idea was to showcase the geographical location of India in the world.

Even though the theme India is nothing new, but my approach to it made it contemporary and new. My stamp print suit has become a hit in the Indian market, showcasing the first school in India, the first Vidhan Sabha, the first freedom fighter and all things first in the Indian history. These prints are doing exceptionally well in the two-tier cities like Kanpur, Nagpur and Hyderabad, not only for clothes but also for footwear now,” said Aarti, founder of the label.

Undoubtedly all the above events established two major travel looks in the markets – travel destinations as themes, and cartography. Known as the study and practice of making maps, cartography has been used as a technique for communicating spatial information effectively through maps, a trend that resurfaced yet again for menswear 2014 collections. Termed as ‘We’re children of National Geographic’, the recent runways of KTZ at the London Fashion Week took inspiration from North Africa’s tribes and showcased its key print of all over ancient maps carried through from capes and outerwear to duffels and sandals. Also seen selling on various online portals like www.romwe.com are ancient world map printed leggings and retailing at MR PORTER is the much talked about map print cotton shirt from the fashion label Band of Outsiders.

Supporting these leads, Pankaj Rastogi, Head – Design & Development of Goyal Fashions said, “For S/S 2014, some EU buyers have already made enquiries for collections directed towards the concept of travel. Two to three customers have asked for designs inspired by Latin America and Mexico, as they are the upcoming travel designations globally. Interestingly, a recent European buyer has also asked us to make a print out of the underground London metro map, in all white with just the lines visible as a geometric pattern.” Even though Pankaj thinks that the trend is still not a rage with mass retailers, but brands like Topshop that have the taste for something quirky and different will be looking out for it. In the future, the company might be experimenting with some passport stamp prints mixed with tropical flowers of an exotic-to-be destination along with maps, either as placement prints on T-shirts, or as all-over patterns.

Shipping out a travel collection already for S/S 2014 for a US buyer, Shivani Dhingra, Designer at Pearl Global Pvt. Ltd. also confirmed, “We recently developed a collection taking the architectural buildings of Paris and London as photo prints on all graphic T-shirts. Mostly in monochromatic, we used techniques like heat transfer, pigment prints, photo prints and puff printing as well to add an extra grunge effect.” Even Shivani agrees that the trend is not for the masses yet, with only big and selective buyers placing orders at the moment.

Traders like H.P. Singh are providing creative fabric developments on similar lines with a lot more variety. Elaborating on the sourcing scenario of S/S 2014, Bashi Singh, Owner of the company claimed, “The trend of travel inspired prints has already picked up with us, and the clients are global. A probable reason for the sudden surge of this look is the fact that they serve as mood builders’ as the market is in stress and therefore people are wanting to distress while holidaying. Influences are coming from smaller tourist areas, as people from bigger cities are going out and travelling to these regions. Along with travel motifs of cycles, stamps, lamps and tribal, we have a range of holiday prints which have Hawaiian looks, and blending of smaller flower repeats with holiday inspired graphics. We are also developing map prints in single colour, and full complete maps inserted with compasses and passport stamps on mainly cotton based fabrics.”

Future directions…

A glance into the future, while at some point the maps and the stamps will take a back seat, designers are also finding new ways of interpreting travel in fashion. As seen in Menswear 2014 runways were looks like Phillip Lim’s muse of the season, the so-called accidental tourist – a traveller, a surfer, a hoarder, and a mixer, piling on his inspirations out of context with out of order, mix-n-match garments. AMI another known designer based his collection on the old glamour that used to be associated with flying and airports with suited businessmen and casual holiday makers in military jackets, the young guys heading outbound in bright tropical prints and tie stripes, the professionals on their way home. The catwalks of Bally fell under the sway of biking for spring, divided into the concept of city biking, off-roading and racing. Also being depicted through multifunctional clothing, the range at Fendi took the turn of ‘utility’ in travel, by rolling out multifunctional items with reversible this and detachable that to enhance their versatility. One way or the other the ‘travel’ trend will be present in fashion throughout, and what is to be seen is, what element of it will reach out to the masses…

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