Editor's View October 2018

Widening The Middle Of The Road


One of the values of examining history is that it helps to put the present in perspective. Here are a few observations about new design trends on view during N.Y. Home Fashions Market set against the barometer of what had been trending in the recent past:
• During the March 2018 Market, oversized pompoms and tassels in bold colors represented a slant toward youthful whimsy. For this Market, pompoms and tassels are still here, but have gone from over-the-top back to “normal” size, allowing these embellishments to be more easily integrated into existing home décor.
• Texture has been a design focus for several Markets. However, in the past, textural details at times were running rampant, with pleats, pintucks, slubbing and fuzzy yarns showing up all in one bed covering.Today, texture remains an important trend, but the number of textural details in a pillow or comforter is more controlled, projecting sumptuous tactile looks, but in more clean-lined, conservative ways.
• A few seasons ago, when digital printing was the latest big thing, floral print designs focused on super-large blooms often splashed asymmetrically across the duvet cover or comforter.Today, colorful blooms are only somewhat overscaled with more balanced, rather than quirky, placements, allowing for broader appeal.
• Bohemian looks that frequently draw upon ethnic/global inspirations became popular in recent times. Today, Boho medallion motifs, especially in fashion bedding, are plentiful, but they draw from classical designs as much as from ethnic influences, allowing them to enjoy broader appeal.
• Catering to Millennials seemed to dominate design directions a couple of seasons ago. Today, Millennial blush remains among the color options in some products, but patterns that are youthful and modern in tone aren’t necessarily positioned for Millennials only, but are for anyone who craves fresh, contemporary design.
What the examples above seem to indicate is that rather than dropping old motifs and introducing new ones every few seasons, designs and techniques are being kept on and added to in order to be as inclusive of consumers’ preferences as possible. Just as consumers are seeking individuality in their home décor, suppliers seem to be offering up diverse options to meet those needs—but options that are less extreme in nature and that cover more ground in satisfying a range of ages and tastes.
It’s a kind of widening of the middle of the road. Personalized looks can be achieved without going to design extremes—and decreasing sales volumes per item. Those who might be considered niche customers can be satisfied with options that are different enough, but that have become more mainstream.

P.S. In my September 2018 editorial, I mentioned I’d keep you posted on the outcome of the American Down and Feather Council’s efforts to remove subheadings from the China 301 Tariff Proposals that involve feather and down. The Council reported on Sept. 24, 2018 that its efforts [and those of other companies who testified] were successful in removing those subheads, so the feather and down industry will not be immediately affected by the tariff proposals.