• Alexa Boschini

Panel: Tech will drive the future of home fashion

How will the cultural trends that inform consumer values today translate into interior design tomorrow? A panel of experts answered that question and more during High Point Market’s opening day event Saturday morning, “The Future of Home Fashion: Discover the Trends Driving Tomorrow’s Style Choices.”high point panel

Moderated by Fashion Snoops Home Interiors Director Jaye Anna Mize, the panel included designer, author and TV personality Kelli Ellis; Stephen Orr, editor-in-chief of Better Homes and Gardens; Laurie Pressman, vice president of Pantone Color Institute; and Randy Rubin, co-founder and president of Crypton Fabrics.

Mize kicked off the event with an overview of three key macro trends that Fashion Snoops projects will inspire design direction and consumer choices in the coming year.

New Luxury celebrates stripped-down, smarter design and emphasizes simplified choices and fewer, better things.

Journey is inspired by heightened experiences and expanding one’s consciousness through travel as the need to unplug from our hectic lives grows more prevalent.

Inter-Connectivity highlights convenience, one-click culture and the ever-expanding web of technology in daily life, from Uber and Netflix to artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

“Instant gratification is the most important factor for consumers in today’s economy,” Mize said.panel2

The panelists said they see these trends translating to a neutral color palette for interiors as a means of counteracting the frenetic pace of our technology-driven culture. When consumers become overwhelmed by constant connectivity – from having the internet at our fingertips via smartphones to being surrounded by smart appliances – the last thing they want to see in their living room is a bright red sofa, Rubin said.

“What you want is to be comfortable with your furniture,” she said. “What that does is force you to look at the soft ness, the comfort, the security.”

Ellis and Pressman both project that consumers will add interest to monochromatic neutral palett es by incorporating lots of rich textures, or perhaps a few pops of green. Pressman said green is typically viewed as a relaxing shade because of its association with plants and nature.

“People are paring back, with that whole feeling that less is more,” Pressman said. “Texture uses material to convey a warm feeling.”

But as society becomes increasingly more tech dependent, Orr said we cannot afford to ignore the role technology plays in the home. He discussed the growing Internet of Things – or the connectivity of the objects we use every day, from smart thermostats to lighting automation. Orr said technology has to be a part of the conversation going forward, in addition to color, form and function.

“Everything is connected to the internet now, not just (Amazon’s) Alexa but your refrigerator,” Orr said. “… I think all of us will be judging our appliances on complexity soon, not just functionality.”

Ellis said she thinks the documentation of people’s lives on social media has fueled the rising consumer demand for products with an interesting story behind them.

“We’re so involved in everyone’s lives and stories,” Ellis said. “There’s no hiding. We know everyone’s story, so it makes sense that we can’t just pop a product on the ground and say, ‘This is what you’re going to have.’ … If it is mass produced, don’t make it look mass produced. We’re seeing age coming back in, a little weathering.”

Perhaps above all else, the panelists said technology is the catalyst for consumers’ expectation of instant gratifi cation – they want products that work, they want products that will last and they want them now.

“Speed will be the new luxury,” Orr said

Alexa BoschiniAlexa Boschini | Assistant Editor, Home Accents Today
aboschini@homeaccentstoday.com

Alexa Boschini joined the Furniture Today Group in May 2012 as assistant editor for Home Accents Today and Casual Living. A native of Greensboro, N.C., she graduated from Elon University in 2010 with a degree in journalism. She spent two years as an award-winning education and features reporter with The Sanford (N.C.) Herald, and has also covered arts and entertainment for Go Triad at the Greensboro News & Record. When she isn't delving into the latest news and trends in home décor, you can find her at the movies, with her nose stuck in a book or volunteering to help the Triad's homeless animals. You can reach her at aboschini@homeaccentstoday.com

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