Grading the Market
Carole Sloan Founding Editor-in-chief -- Home Textiles Today, 3/22/2010 12:00:00 AM
Looking back over this month's home fashions market, a consensus evaluation was that it rated a B or B+ in attitude, but still a C or B- in terms of where the conventional retailers were going to put their investments.
From the retailers' side careful and cautious appeared to be the operative words, with products deemed to be far out definitely a no-no. On the other hand, there seemed to be a mini-trend to get away from the same-old, same-old dominating perspective of the last few markets.
But there is a new twist to retailing in home textiles – and in a whole lot of product categories well beyond our horizons. A quick example. Just think of the social media that was virtually pervasive in the coverage of the New York Fashion Week for apparel, though somewhat less so in the Milan and Paris counterparts.
On the supplier side, there is an apparent reluctance to acknowledge that the world of retailing – not just home textiles – has changed dramatically in the last year or so, recession, depression or whatever not withstanding.
For some years now, we have been discussing the growth of direct-to-consumer businesses, as well as drop ship capabilities from supplier to retailer's customer.
The number of companies in home textiles that have embraced this concept is still miniscule. And for many, it is a position that could well be a deterrent to growth in the future.
But this is a situation that could be debated well into the night – or over weeks or months.
From the product perspective, there were some things that stood out.
First and foremost, a definite renaissance of prints, many with extraordinary techniques of off-center, angled, bordered or whatever alignments.
Geometrics were pervasive — squares, diamonds, circles, oblongs, whatever. This was a look that could be carried from the most elegant traditional to the sleekest modern.
Unique pleating, ruching and tiny tucks were almost the sewing technique de jour, giving a new oomph to what could have been another ordinary bed or window.
Embroideries, appliqués, and glitter, glitter, glitter were everywhere to be found. Sequins and metallic accents were the most popular form of the latter.
And in color, there's no denying we're now in a purple phase — from light to dark — and chartreuse is moving in fast as a new accent.
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