Products & Trends

Decoding Design Trends

Jena Hall delivers tips for turning trend knowledge into your perfect merchandising mix

What’s old is new again, or so it goes, in fashion and home furnishings. “Everything is cyclical,” says furniture designer, industry insider, and Market presenter Jena Hall. Even the omnipresent color gray is on its way out. “We’re so gray that gray is turning yellow because it’s scared,” Hall said in her Spring Market seminar, Finding the Right Trends for Your Store.

So, what’s on-trend right now? Turns out the answer is complicated. “Today’s style trends are best viewed as a continuum ranging from Avant-Garde to Borax,” says Hall.

The Trend Phases

Phase1: Avant-Garde.
The look is just a rustling in the design community. Hall’s examples of these coming-soon styles include Moderne Craft & Art and the return of floral chintz on everything.

Phase2: On Trend.
Currently shifting through this phase are Mid-Century Modern, Scandia Modern, and 1950s and 60s influences such as brass, chrome and Lucite.

Phase3: Established.
Well-known and commonly seen styles, such as the current preferences for the color gray and industrial styling.

Phase4: Mass Decline.
A more prevalent look that is sliding out of fashion. In today’s market, Fretwork fits this phase.

Phase5: Borax.
The final stage at retail, when a trend is well on its way out. Sparkles, glitter, crystal and silver leaf are all currently on this mule train to obscurity.

Understanding trend phases is key to creating a merchandising mix that appeals to all shoppers — from the style-conscious early-adopters to trend-averse traditionalists. Or, it can help you find the products that are currently in the sweet spot for a particular consumer type.

Applying the Insights

“The best use of forecasts is attracting and engaging the consumer,” says Hall. “Trends are important, but more importantly, you need to know who your customer is.”

A self-proclaimed cultural anthropologist, Hall says each generation has its own buying patterns. “Millennials are telling us they like change. They’re not like their parents and people raised during the depression who like to hold onto things. As a result, shorter attention spans equal shorter product life.”

For the future-focused, Hall’s other key predictions are: “We’ll continue seeing mass customization in accents and casegoods. Industrial is waning; it’s at mass market now, but elements of it will remain. And I think we’ll see neo-classical rethought in a new way.”

Abundant Inspiration

From color forecasting to curated product directions, High Point Market offers a full lineup of presentations on the trends that are influencing interiors. Whether focused on a furniture category, décor style, or consumer demographic, each offers valuable insight that buyers can use to inform their shopping.

Interior designer Deborah Kollmeyer is opening a retail store in Mystic, Conn. this fall. The trend presentations she attended offered the ideas and resources she needed. “I’ve been to three different shows this year and I found High Point had more about design and trends than any of the others. I saw all the up and coming trends, in everything from colors to furniture to accessories.”

“Attending Market presentations and staying aware of ever-changing trends will keep your merchandise mix fresh, always evolving, and will help you avoid being stagnant,” advises Hall.