Editor's View April 2018

Cozying Up Against The World


In addition to learning what today’s product trends are, it’s important to understand why they exist in order to continue capturing consumers’ attention and dollars. Today’s consumers are reacting to the frenzy of our techno-rich and economically uncertain society by viewing their homes as polar-opposite calming retreats. The hot style of the day is Modern Farmhouse—it’s casual, warm, welcoming and versatile enough to be country rustic or include a touch of urban vintage.
Chana’a Smith from S.L. Home Fashions explains, “The Farmhouse feel combines old and new elements. It is eclectic, so it has broad appeal, it can incorporate personal touches and is timeless, integrating elements from nature, such as wood and metal.”
Overriding qualities in home textiles that embody the warm, welcoming aspect of Modern Farmhouse style are “soft and cozy.” From fleece and faux Sherpa throws to comforters and decorative pillows in velvet and shag, and cushy bath towels, products unveiled at last month’s N.Y. Home Fashions Market carried softness to a new extreme.
People aren’t hugging plush stuffed animals to feel secure. Rather, they are being hugged virtually by all the super-soft textiles now available throughout the home. This “softness” trend emphasizes the dominance of texture as a main design element.
“Prints are experiencing a pullback,” says Smith, explaining that some consumers opt in fashion bedding for solids or multi-shaded solids with textures or printed texture so they can layer with components that add specific patterns to express their personalities. They want to create the overall look themselves. Layering is “in.”
Fun and whimsy permeated products in many showrooms at N.Y. Market, supporting the “home as retreat” and self-expression themes. Tassels and pompoms were oversized, no longer more formal embellishments, but now informal, whimsical decorations. (And it’s no coincidence that these oversized elements and exaggerated textures play well in images on the internet for e-commerce options.)
Consumers wanting to personalize dovertails with experts’ findings that experiences are important to many consumers. Julia Auriemma from Revman International Inc. reveals that “lifestyle” brands are about people living their dreams—using products to help them create a way of life. The Tommy Bahama brand, for which Revman designs bedding and bath lines, is a true lifestyle brand. There are Tommy Bahama restaurants and now even Tommy Bahama Airstream travel trailers and coaches that enhance the ability to “Live the island life.” Home textiles can help enhance a consumer’s lifestyle experience.
Katy Chapman from CHF Industries believes that the great value of some brands is quality assurance—it inspires confidence to repeat purchase. However, when it comes to evaluating brands, consumers trust peers more than authority figures. They see through the celebrity name slapped onto products designed by someone else. “They seek authenticity, so artists and designers or celebrties whose celebrity is related to the home goods they are creating are accepted,” says Chapman.
Peking Handicraft Inc. continues to “go to the people” to uncover fresh talent for its Makers Collective line. The first criterion designers in the line must meet is a following of at least half a million people on social media.
More to come in future on the consumer psyche’s influence on home textiles.