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How to pull-off pastels in 2020

Updated: Apr 13, 2021

You’ve probably noticed pastels are everywhere. The sorbet shades of the swinging sixties have swung back into stores for 2020, where we predict they’ll stay.

“Soft colour palettes are back in a big way,” says Bec, our creative director. “For 2020 will be about using pretty, 60’s colours and translating them for an 80’s/90s girl,” she says. Think bucket hats, puffed sleeves and platform mary-janes.

A posey of pastel hues can feel too sickly sweet for a lot of tastes, so follow Bec’s pick of the palettes and hit the right note. Also below, her tips on using them in your work.



“Lilac and pink together have always been a pet peeve of mine,” says Bec, “BUT these two frou frou hues are important to note for the new year.”  Variations of the tones have created pretty effects on and off the runway and are “forcing me to put my personal taste aside,” she says.


“This combination is the perfect modern take on 90’s colours. Washing out minty greens and paring it back with the prettiest mid blue.”


“Try yellow, pink and a splash of blue or burnt orange. It’s a youthful, feminine take on 90’s style. We love the highlight of blue in the yellow and pink combination. Such an unexpected pop is always welcome,” Bec says.


1. Do your vintage research

“Go thrift shopping, really absorb those vintage vibes.”

2. Paint with the colours you want to use

“When designing your print, start your motifs in the colours you intend the design to be in.  I sometimes have a reference picture or one of our Colour Scoops (see info below) open beside me. You can change them as the design progresses, but it's good to have an intention from the beginning.”

3. Trouble shoot

Is a certain colour combination not working? “Update your pastel colours with an opposing mid colour or throw in a clashing darker tone to off set the mid pastels.”

4. Think about the printed product

Be aware that your colours will not translate to fabric as you see them on screen.  Your screen is lit from behind so there’s a brightness to your colour and intensity to the white page.  Whereas when it’s printed to fabric, all the colours will fall back.  So be conscious of there being enough variation between the tones of your mids and the off-white of the fabric base.”

5. Experiment with fun pops

 If your design is in pastel pinks, add a pop of lime for some fun.


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Bec makes it look so easy to find a group of exciting, trend-based colours. Her many years of experience as a creative director have fine-tuned her ‘nose’ for a successful, saleable palette, and in our studio she sniffs out the good ones daily.

We want to teach you guys to do the same (hence, our blog!), and to have a library of Bec-approved colour palettes for your reference. Then you can give your designs the best chance at converting into cash, especially if you’re starting out and haven’t quite attuned your own nose.

So we created a resource for you (which, to be honest, we’re pretty proud of) called, The Freelancer’s Kit. It features eight Colour Scoops (what we call our colour palettes) and 10 Trend Boards (what we call mood boards depicting future fashion movements). Put them together and you have yourself a pretty fail-safe set of textile design direction, straight from our girl.

Here’s what it looks like:

Freelancers Kit Oct 19


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