‘Seeing patterns everywhere from the mundane to the magnificent’ is how Patternity describe their vision; and the reason why I love following the creative consultants on Instagram (@patternity). From local architecture to Amazon Rainforests, the pattern-spotters share beautiful images online and I like the idea that ‘paying more attention to the everyday can make us more mindful and connected to our environment and each other,’ as Patternity’s Anna Murray told Wallpaper magazine. Instagram has certainly made me take a much closer look at my surroundings. Murray is a photographer and art director and together with product designer Grace Winteringham makes up Team Patternity. I first spotted their work when they launched a range of hand-printed tights several years ago, and subsequently met them when they showed a collection of monochrome ceramics at London Design Festival. Since then, the Patterniteam have collaborated on many bespoke projects with brands including Nike, Céline, Levi’s, Clarks and COS:


Clarks Desert boots and Chinti & Parker jumper from Patternity archive

And now there’s a book, Patternity: a new way of seeing, containing essays on their philosophy as well as striking visuals. At Somerset House, over the weekend (as part of this year’s London Design Festival), I couldn’t resist popping on a Patternity poncho and immersing myself in the monochrome, highly Instagrammable space the brand had created in collaboration with Paperless Post.

That's Not My Age, Patternity-106 copy

Did you hear about the man who died last week taking a selfie at the Taj Mahal? And no, that’s not a joke. He stepped backwards and fell down some steps. Every time I go into central London there are hoards of selfie stick-waving tourists in front of Buckingham Palace/the London Eye/the fountain in Trafalgar Square, which is fine but when you’re more interested in sharing a picture of yourself on Instagram than what’s going on in the real world, it’s not surprising when somebody comes a cropper. Murray is definitely right about paying more attention…

10 thoughts on “The Patternity book, selfies and seeing patterns everywhere

  1. How’s this for not paying attention: A friend of mine was in the parking area of a National Park in the US, enjoying a famous and breathtaking vista. He heard an RV pull in and looked to see a family come trouping out, one by one, and, as the dad set up his camera, the mother herded the kids into line with the vista as a backdrop. The father ran into frame, detonated the timer and boom, they made a picture. The second this was done, they all rushed back into the RV and drove away without ever having glanced at their surroundings, including the iconic view they had just used as their backdrop. My friend said he stood there with his mouth hanging open for several minutes after they sped away, not quite believing what he had just witnessed. It all took less than 5 minutes.

    So my question is: despite the selfie “proof,” if you never saw it, were you actually there? 🙂

    1. What’s the point of going somewhere beautiful if you’re not even going to look at the view?! Last time I was at the Picasso museum in Paris it was full of people standing with their backs to the paintings taking photos of themselves, I felt like saying “Why don’t you just look at the paintings – oh and move your bloody iPad out of my way while you’re at it!”

  2. Patternity instagram account is great. I have a Chinti & Parker/ Patternity sweater (not the one pictured, but equally fab) with chevrons that I love wearing. & too right about the selfie-sticks – we went to Venice a few weeks ago, and it was infested with gormless people reversing and gurning.

  3. I miss the day when tourists actually offered to take photos of one another in famous spots. That moment of connection with a real person, even if you couldn’t speak a word of each other’s language and had to use gestures to communicate, was precious! The photos were usually better too!

    1. That is so true, Elaine – a lovely, brief connection, replaced by a stick. Think you’re right about the photos, too.

  4. Check it out: The Imperial War Museum has partnered with Patternity to create a blackband white collection in honor of camoflage patterns used in WWI. The t-shirt is terrific!

  5. Fun post! I love patterns, and I’m always looking at leaves, water, buildings and wishing I was clever enough to transform them into textiles. Or eye-catching boots!

  6. Totally loved that picture you set up (I think in a mirror)!

    On the subject of selfies…To Catbird Farm and TNMA. Strange isn’t it… we just returned from 3 weeks in Spain followed by three weeks in Paris. I took perhaps 10 photos, mostly of interesting patterns of a couple of buildings, possibly to translate into paintings….otherwise, we just wanted to be there. We don’t record our journeys anymore…we experience them.

  7. Opening the door of my walk in wardrobe is a blast on the eyes as the only thing without pattern is a few jumpers.
    After seeing a Sean Scully exhibition the pattern of the glass blocks in the wall of our garage jumped out at me. They’ve been there over 25 years and I had never seen them that way before

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