With March upon us and this year’s Spring gift fairs in full swing, Gift Directory checked in with Emma Wilkinson, director of Nibble Distributors, who recently travelled to Birmingham’s Spring Fair for some hot-off-the-press gift and home inspirations for the year ahead. We also paired Emma’s wise words alongside some sage trend snapshots from the press team at Ambiente Fair in Germany.
Here’s what we found out . . .
Fantasy Island . . . Unicorns, Llamas and Mermaids
“In the last year we have seen a lot of unicorn and mermaid products and this trend shows no signs of slowing down,” says Emma. “The magical element of these mystical creatures seems to appeal to girls (and women) of all ages and last year most of our suppliers had one key unicorn range.”
This year at the Spring Fair Emma and her buyers saw many suppliers showcasing two-to-three different unicorn collections, designed to appeal to a wide range of age groups. Llamas were also at the fore.
“These gorgeous creatures follow on from the South American-inspired trend and are already appearing in a wide range of products, from stationery, homeware, accessories and novelty products,” explains Emma.
As showcased at Ambiente Fair this February, Peru is totally on-trend – llamas and all! Funky alpacas populated an increasing number of lifestyle accessories, from paper plates to coffee cups, spreading their picture-perfect South American style.
If opting for a total llama and unicorn takeover is too much, the Brits are embracing the theatrical theme and turning to glitter paint, gloss tiling and accessories like coloured glass tea lights for extra sparkle around the home this 2018 season.
It’s Go on Green . . . Succulents, cactus and terrariums
“Last year Pantones’ colour of the year was ‘greenery’, which meant an increase in the use of this fresh colour across all kinds of homeware pieces. This also lead to succulents becoming a trend,” says Emma.
Succulents remain a key player and are joined by cactus-inspired gifts and homewares. Outside – and in – funky planters and terrariums are also hot to trot.
Last year’s summer fashions had a very clear feel, report the Ambiente team, with happiness the order of the day. Tropical patterns, flamingos, monster leaves, cacti, watermelon watercolours were not just big on textiles, home accessories and crockery but also on Instagram and Snapchat. The good news is that these popular styles aren’t a one-season wonder. Good design is timeless, as demonstrated by the cactus vase that Marie Michielssen designed years ago for Serax.
Green doesn’t just have a place in the flesh, rich shades of green look striking against on-trend darker furniture choices and especially juxtaposed against charcoal and navy walls that are on-trend in the home this season. Think large scale leaf prints, oversized insects, wildlife and exotic birds.
Adorn me . . . Jewellery trends
Slouchy bracelets are this year’s must-have and were definitely a big hit at Ambiente. The look is achieved by combining lots of different styles, such as the colourful leather bracelets tanned with rhubarb showcased by Saami Crafts at the fair, and decorated in a traditional ancient Scandinavian way using fine tin threads and beads. LeJu’s fabric bracelets were also eye-catching and woven in Colombia using sustainable, traditional methods. Jewellery designer Pernille Corydon showcased filigree palm and leaf motifs, alongside a globe pendant with on-trend enamel details.