Jacqueline Colley shows us how to stay on trend and original
Looking back at the design world's obsession with all things tropical this Summer, Jacqueline Colley created one of the most successful responses to the popular trend.
It’s a story as old as design itself: a trend’s popularity surges and before long it’s everywhere. Through both brands who plan their collections months in advance and those who rush out new ranges to jump on a popular theme – new trends have a way of spreading like wildfire.
The tropical trend was this Summer’s hottest. From monstera leaf pins to monkey-cover cushions – both fashion and interiors took inspiration in equal measure. Looking back, it’s interesting to see who borrowed ideas and who came up with their own.
Personally, I loved everything about the trend with one exception – pineapples. If I see one more golden pineapple in any shop I may physically scream.
This is of course (quite extreme) personal preference but I do think it exemplifies the problem with trends. If you gather together a group of 10 random designers and ask them to draw a pineapple, every member of the groups rendition would be completely unique. However in countless cases companies released basically the exact same end product as their competitors. It’s uninventive and a little patronising to their customers. Even if you do love a trend, it doesn’t mean you will buy a completely unoriginal reproduction of an idea which most likely originated from a much smaller company.
Copy cat culture among the larger brands in the design world is what has given the term “trend” a bad reputation.
This isn’t to say that design trends are altogether bad. A motif or theme catching on can – and in this Summer’s case has – inspire some brilliantly original creations. And not just from independent makers either. Clothing brand Oasis made the inspired move of enlisting the help of illustrator Jacqueline Colley in creating their own trendy tropical fashion range.
This was an clever move not only because Jacqueline is a talented illustrator but because she has a genuine passion for the subject. Botanical motif have long been a feature of Jacqueline’s portfolio. The cacti pattern below may look totally on trend but it was created back in 2013.
By partnering with someone with a genuine interest in the subject, Oasis created a collection which is genuinely original and yet still completely on trend.
Oasis’s tropical range which features Jacqueline’s illustrations was produced in collaboration with ZSL London Zoo. Naturally, it included a zoo’s-worth of monkeys, lemurs, giraffes, zebras, bird and big cats. The collection aimed to not only aid people in staying stylish throughout the Summer but also raise awareness about the animals featured within the patterns.
The designs were created by collaging together a selection of drawings of some of Jacqueline’s favourite animals and plants. Each individual illustration is stunningly detailed. And the clever composition of lots of green interspersed with bouts of warmer tones stops each design from becoming too intense.
Bloggers and “influencers” spend so much time looking forward at trends but I find it just as interesting to look back. The brands who routinely churn out copy-cat ranges could take note from those who decide to go down a more original path. Oasis and ZSL London’s collaboration with Jacqueline Colley was the most successful interpretation of the tropical theme from this Summer’s trend that I saw. And the best thing is, even if the trend sticks around until next Summer – Jacqueline’s unique illustration style is impossible to replicate as masterfully.
As Summer has ended, the botanical obsession has died down. A friend of mine recently questioned what I was going to do when the trend died. I offendedly replied with “tropical jungles live all year round so why can’t the tropical trend?”.
The good news for anyone who wants to keep the tropical trend alive all year round is Jacqueline runs her own online shop. Here you can find an abundance of items to keep your home leafy and green all year round without you having to water anything.
Throughout her homeware range, colour is key. The schemes are filled with a rainbow of colour but none of the hues are too vibrant. Items feel sunshine-happy but not so much that you would only display them in the Summer.
The shop includes everything from pins and patches to trays, throws, pencil cases and prints. All are botanically inspired in one way or another. A positive of any trend is that it helps support artists who have long been excelling at a theme. Savvy trend spotters soon get bored of the limited range in most stores. Once they do, they go looking in more boutique establishment and the rewards slowly trickle down to smaller businesses.
Recently Ohh Deer have also recognised Jacqueline’s potential in helping keep the tropical trend alive throughout the colder months. They have applied a few pre-existing illustrations of Jacqueline’s to some of their huge new range of cushions.
Whether it is through collaborating on fresh designs, selling her old ones or turning her latest drawings into products – Jacqueline’s work shows there is no need to go chasing after trends. If you work hard at what you love then you will eventually be rewarded with the recognition you deserve.