Patterns – Vintage

The earlier you track back the less elaborate the patterns are, especially on clothing as clean and unembellished attire was seen as more modest in earlier western societies. Though soon the tools needed to sculpt patterns and the textile abilities of the population grew quickly to harness more varied looks. When you look at vintage patterns and design much of what you see once again has a deep root in a natural side.

 Just think about the prevalence of floral design, flowers and plants are one of the most common items on anything vintage that has been given a design. Curling leaves, soft petals and the twisting lines of roots and branches make perfect borders for letters, hems and even household tables. These earthly elements weren’t there because they were just the easiest option, far from it, it was because plants were seen as beautiful as they still are today, the difference here is that the people alive back then didn’t have any other eye-popping distractions. If you wanted to adorn something with a sense of beauty what was better than flowers, birds and seashells. Discovering something pretty meant going out into the natural world and discovering the sights and sounds of the globe and then replicating that elsewhere. As styles progressed you can see that many later patterns developed on these themes by sticking to organic shapes, curls and circles continuing the beauty that nature had put in place.

Patterns – Retro

With the ability to create patterns well established at this point the retro era sought out to take everything a step further and really get experimental. The rise of ‘flower power’ saw a return of floral representation in design but in a wildly different way than it was used previously. The attention to detail on flowers was replaced with cartoonish faux-liquid shapes that were presented in the brightest colours possible. At the same time more unnatural shapes and patterns emerged commonly used in wallpaper and carpets. Overlapping geometry was often comprised of very straight lines with multiple angles, and although there seemed to be a desire to round off many of the shapes they still looked drastically more modern and more robotic than before. Cubes and capsules were commonly used shapes for patterns melding them together in unique ways created a now well-known retro style look.


Another big change here was that particular shapes were now iconic and thus used to create patterns easily. From the five-pointed star to the many symbols and logos of brands which had become household designs as consumerism had hit the west in a big way. It’s here that we take a big step away from the symbolism of natural beauty and move towards celebrating ‘false idols’ in the form of corporate icons. Food brands, TV shows and even vehicle makes began to use spread their names further and wider than before by letting their logos do the legwork. Gone was the celebration of things that grew out of the ground, phasing out the round and curving look, instead impossibly straight, machine made lines and entirely man-made symbols were the way to look good.