Beadwork Designs, Designing for Fashion Trends or the Classics

Now Showing: Runway and fashion trends for Summer 2016
As predicted, for this summer’s fashion hits, we are seeing lace, satin and loose fitting fabrics. On-trend colors are in fact rose blush and yellow. Here are Swarovski’s Innovations for Spring/Summer 2016 – so spot on!
Swarovski Innovations, Spring/Summer 2016

Other key factors are soft metallics and pops of color, like turquoise, black, and white. This picture sums it all into one!
Designer – J.W. Anderson

catwalk, fashion Spring/Summer 2016

When designing a new piece of jewelry, some designers focus on trends and include materials and colors that will be NOW. Some design for classic appeal. Another approach is to design on a theme or an aesthetic. The Backpacking Across Europe Beading Collection sums up this point perfectly. All the beadwork designs in this collection have very European flair as well as classic appeal, so they’ll always be a hit!

Can’t you see yourself sitting in front of a café while wearing the Monreale Necklace by Maggie Meister? This design was inspired by Sicily’s Monreale cathedral and would not only be wonderful to challenge yourself to make but wonderful to wear.

Monreale Necklace beadwork design by Maggie Meister

Monreale Necklace, by Maggie Meister

Wouldn’t you love to be in Monte Carlo or some other seaside town, sitting on the beach, reading a book, and wearing this beauty, By the Sea, by Riana Olckers?

By the Sea, by Riana Olckers, beadwork design

By the Sea, by Riana Olckers

And while in London, my husband and I would be the guests of some nobleman, attending a black-tie affair, with me in some amazing gown wearing these stunning earrings. Ah. That’s a nice dream, no?

Ravenna Earrings, Liisa Turunen and Glenda Paunonen, beadwork designs

Ravenna Earrings, Liisa Turunen and Glenda Paunonen

In reality – I’m much more the backpack type, jeans, white (or black) tee shirt, and sneakers, with layers of bracelets to go along with whatever color I am feeling that day. Still wearing the amazing earrings and necklace, of course!

When working on designs, I tend to go with the classics, so designs have a little more life than a trend allows. That said, it’s always fun to work in a trend item here and there. But which way to go? To push myself past my comfort zone, I decided to do a test. I pulled together a few key elements from this summer’s fashion forecast using materials I had on hand, and assembled them into these cuffs.

experimental fashion leather cuff by Tammy Honamana

I wore the one on the right with a pair of jeans, a tee and some sneaks, while out the other day. Well. The results and feedback were amazing! And so, I share this with you, in case you wanted to put together a quick design test of your own.

As a model here is my formula:

  • Main material: leather  (leather cuff)
  • Key accent material: lace (WireLace®)
  • Key color: rose
  • Accent color: turquoise (silk and Shibori ribbon)
  • Metal: gold and silver (metallic paint and metal accents)
  • Design direction: drapey, flowy, fluid 
  • Add in crystal whenever you can!

Step 1: Gather your materials and figure out what order to layer them for the effect you’re going for. Black was not a main color in this test so I decided to mask it with the metallic accent.

step 1a, experimental fashion leather cuff by Tammy Honamana


Painting Ranger metallic ink onto the surface and edges.

step 1b, experimental fashion leather cuff by Tammy Honamana

Step 2: To attach the fabric to the leather, I chose to use Swarovski crystal rivets in gold-plated metal, which also brings in the crystal element and another metal accent, .

step 2a, experimental fashion leather cuff by Tammy Honamana

I was able to anchor the layered silk and WireLace to the leather cuff quickly and easily using the handheld crystal applicator tool.

step 2b, experimental fashion leather cuff by Tammy Honamana

Step 3: Put on your new design with an everyday outfit and see what kind of feedback you get!

experimental fashion leather cuff by Tammy Honamana

Don’t be afraid to solicit information from passersby – there is great insight to be had from unbiased opinions! Once you have a reaction, you also have results for what might work in your next design exploration. Or, maybe you have another design hit that you can add to your line.

Whatever your pleasure, I would love to know how you approach a design – do you design for trends? Or go for a more classic look? Like something edgy? Or a combination of all? Drop a note at

Happy fashion-trend hunting!


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