arrow_drop_upAnchovy They fundamentally believe that most interesting things are either loved or hated, and Anchovy embodies this. Liz Pilgrim, contributor

Innovation – how are brands embracing innovation and design

Playtime Paris is very much part of showcasing cutting edge brands in terms of innovation and forward thinking design. Exhibiting brands break the mould and offer something different to buyers. For its 21st edition, after celebrating its tenth anniversary, Playtime Paris has welcomed a new space, NEW NOW, which is dedicated to designers’ collections participating at the show for the first time.

When looking at the 500+ brands exhibiting at Playtime Paris, there are many that stand out for their innovation and cool design. It’s hard to pick favourites but Latvian brand, Anchovy really stands out as having a completely refreshing and innovative approach to how they design.

My first question to Giedre Kose, manager at Anchovy, was why the brand name Anchovy?
“Because Anchovy is salty and sour, and we love things that have a distinct taste”

They fundamentally believe that most interesting things are either loved or hated, and Anchovy embodies this. The distinctive logo too with letters at a juxtaposition immediately gives the notion of fluid design that goes against normal constraints.

Anchovy blends fashion and technology. They let data decide what colours will be used in their collections. For example, their SS17 patterns are inspired by words and created using their own Anchovy app which is available for free download: (Anchovy app free download appsto.re/gb/NNGu_.i ). They love experimenting with data and creating interactive design tools that invite people to play with colours. They insist they want to empower everyone to create.

So how have Anchovy embraced innovation? The innovation is in their creative process itself which started with an idea to create a fun tool that turns words into colour. The idea came when their two year old daughter Juka, started to play with an iPad, typing random letters that drew beautiful colour patterns. They loved the process and the designs so much that they thought it would be an interesting idea to take the patterns she created and make them into wearable garments.

(photo credit: Anchovy)

As parents they are conscious of the needs of both children and parents, which are reflected in their unique designs. In this advanced technological age, they are trying to create meaningful designs that are pure, relevant and inspirational.

Anchovy have big plans for the future - they are planning to create more exciting wearable garments using data and top quality natural fabrics. They’re very interested in generating fabric patterns from ambient data like wind, weather or the frequency of pulse that is generated while you are sleeping. So who knows what we might see in their new collections…

Innovation has been at the forefront of design in maternitywear this season. We have seen functional design from Paulina Maternity and this indicates that we can expect to see more designs in their AW17 range as this season saw great design in their outerwear collection by extending the life of their Parka coat through clever zip fastenings.

The Paulina Maternity Winter’s Tale Parka coat has exceptional innovation through its functionality. When needed, the hood and faux fur can be easily removed by a zipper. I love the innovative way that the coat has a fully removable inset which means it can be transformed into a maternity coat so easily. At the beginning of your pregnancy, it looks like a standard parka coat and the bump is growing, it can be easily expanded with the zipper panel inset.

(photo credit: Paulina Maternity)

After giving birth, there is also enough room and warmth for mum and baby. When no longer needed, the panel can be removed and it transforms back to a standard coat.

We’re also starting to see more innovation in maternity design – 2016 has seen a number of brands launch maternity and nursing active-wear including nursing sports bras using innovative fabric such as the recycled polyamide Nursing Sports Bra from Boob and they plan further extensions to this range.

(photo credit: Boob Design)

From maternity clothing to surrealist design, next we explore 2RU2RA where we meet Migle from the Lithunian brand which launched back in 2014. They won a TV fashion project in Lithunia – they were full of creative ideas and with some financial support they started the brand. Their brand name is an interesting concept and not an obvious name, where does it originate from?

“We sometimes use the slogan 'dare to wear & wear to dare' when describing our clothing. Our brand name is 2RU2RA and if translated from Lithuanian slang, it actually means 'the stupidest of stupid' BUT in a good way…”

(photo credit: 2RU2RA)

The team are always inspired by surrealism, and they love weird, sometimes even wacky creepy, ideas and images so they thought it would be interesting to develop designs that would incorporate all these elements in a stand-out way and see if their vision would be appealing to consumers.

They started with designs for women and from the success of these, went on to develop designs for both men and children so they now a collection for the whole family now. The range has predominantly been black and white and they see this continuing as they explore other creative ideas around the wacky and wonderful.

(photo credit: 2RU2RA)

The designs are very much experimental, the designers love to push the boundaries and really embark on creative themes to deliver stunning images that you wouldn’t usually associate with kids clothing. They’re proud of the range which they believe is very much like kids themselves - always different and sometimes weird but always innovative.

Brands need to keep innovating, whether it’s in product function, product design, new fabrics and materials or simply creativity, the evolution has to continue for brand success.

Liz Pilgrim