The Art of Fashion

Fashion is the focus at Grafiq Trafiq Design Studio. Director Lamont White has a degree in fashion illustration and his wife and business partner Jeannine is a fashion designer, so the art, design and licensing company is very fashion forward. "Fashion is always the trend leader, so we have a very 'what's next' approach to our art," says White.

The company looks not just to American fashion, but to European looks to spot trends that will translate to licensed images. White thinks the company's focus keeps it one step ahead of what's happening in the marketplace. "We do a quick turnaround, which is really important to keep on top of trends. We do a lot of trend-based research that inspires ideas. Since we come from the fashion end, we can offer something different to clients."

The company began with a group of artists and designers in 2000 servicing apparel, stationery, home and corporate clients. Grafiq now partners with manufacturers across the globe and services a broad range of industries.

Grafiq's newest license FiQl is now launching. FiQl images are targeted to older teens, but White says the collection's design sensibility also will have appeal for women in their 40s and?50s. "It's a fashion, lifestyle brand," White says. "The motifs and patterns are rock-themed and party-themed with a 'fashion girl' element." White is pursuing stationery, greeting card, gift wrap and tabletop licenses for Grafiq images.

Proximo, Grafiq's young men's collection, also is fashion-focused. It's an edgy, hip look that incorporates skulls, skaters and rock-and-roll imagery and has been well received. "This look is European-inspired. We saw a lot of this look in Berlin and Amsterdam," says White. "It's done very well for us. We are working with a scrapbooking manufacturer and with a greeting card manufacturer for this line."

As much as White is focused on the future, he knows that many new trends can come from historically based material as easily as from contemporary material. Another key license for Grafiq is the work of Jason Yenter, an artist who has an extensive background in quilting and crafts and is well known in the quilting world for his antique-inspired fabric designs. "Jason looks to centuries old, antique patterns to influence his work," says White, who wants to expand Yenter's artwork into other markets. "Wrap, bags, cards, tabletop are all areas that would be a good fit for his art. Holiday could be a big factor for him, as well."

Once Upon a Time is another collection Grafiq will be promoting at the Licensing International Expo. The line is a whimsical, 1950s-inspired juvenile series. White sees the collection moving into children's books, plush and toys.