Around the World in 60 Trendy Textile Minutes

Wow. Trends move with dizzying speed these days. Where it once took 365 days to get around the world, it’s super easy to share online instantly these days, so we must reach further and faster to find anything new. As a regular ol’ person trying to keep up with “what’s new,” my head is whipping back and forth like watching a trendy tennis game!

Just watching textiles, designs like beni ourain rugs from Morocco were super hot for awhile. That’s not the leading edge now. KimonoIkat. Suzani. Otomi. All past trends. What? You’re just discovering these? I know, I hear you, it can make you feel like you missed something, these trends move so fast.

Textile Style Trends

Sources: Kimono, LotusHaus; Ikat, PRC Foundation; Suzani, Nazmiyal Collection; Otomi, Mexican Folk Art Craft 

With the trends of the last few years, we traveled from Southeast Asia to Central Asia to Africa. Now it seems we hopped an ocean and we should be in Peru. I’ve noticed Peruvian and Andean textiles are being talked about lately. Maybe that’s a new trail on the path of the tribal trend? But wait!! One of my arms is still stuck in a pile of Hmong textiles over in Southeast Asia!

Or maybe Hmong design can live with Peruvian? Maybe Otomi can live with Moroccan? Maybe tribal influence from Africa can find design harmony with Suzani? If you’re having a hard time picturing what I’m talking about (because yeah that’s what happens when the world spins so fast!) here’s a few combos:

Peruvian rug + Hmong Cushion:

Peruvian Rug and Hmong Cushion

Moroccan Beni Ourain rug + Otomi from Mexico:

Moroccan Beni Ourain and Otomi

West African batik wall hanging + Suzani-inspired:

West African Batik and Suzani Style

On the one hand, I wish things would slow down. It seems as soon as our eyes adjust to what’s new to us, we’re asked to focus on something else. What’s coming next? I don’t know today. But we should know by next week. (And indeed, this post sat as a draft for a week – and yesterday it was announced that Navajo is the new trend! Which reminded me to finish this post …)

On the other hand, this means we are hopefully learning about and appreciating cultures from around the whole world.

The lesson here? Live with what you like. Even if it was trendy years ago. It doesn’t matter. If ikat speaks to you, live with it. For as long as you like. It’s your life and your home, and your money that bought it. And if humans actually labored by hand to make your textile, someone spent weeks or months and sometimes even years of their life creating what you own! So we shouldn’t dispose of things so quickly. Beyond being wasteful, that feels capricious and even disrespectful. Maybe that’s the thing that bothers me about the fast trend cycle. While a plain t-shirt from Target can be a “throwaway” in a year, we shouldn’t be so throwaway with these cultural treasures from around the world. Let’s live with them for a long while!

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