Make New Friends But Keep the Old
One of the most remarkable aspects of the last New York Home Fashions Market was the pronounced pivot away from the Boomer customer toward the Millennials. I wonder if this week we might see some retrenchment.
I'm not expecting a comeback of capital-T "Traditional" so much as attempts to reinterpret the form.
One supplier told me last week her company's customers have been asking: "Where has traditional gone? Who is that customer today?"
Only a couple of hours earlier, I had been listening to JCPenney evp/cfo Ken Hannah address a Bank of America Merrill Lynch consumer conference. He acknowledged that JCP had shifted its design sensibility too far too fast to appeal to new (read Millennial) consumers. It turns out the core Penney shopper still wants full-length khakis, knee-length shorts and no-frills St. John's Bay casual wear.
And certainly not every Millennial in the land responds to eye-popping color and over-scaled geometrics.
So what might a reimagined take on traditional look like? I would expect there will be a whole lot less of the ornamentation (fringe, bullion and what-not) that defined the style in the early years of the 21st Century.
When it comes to jacquard, I'd bet (and hope) the weaves are executed in a manner that doesn't replicate the suffocating upholstery fabrics of a decade ago. I would imagine "texture without weight" might be the byword here.
The pursuit of Millennials has resurrected print to some degree, and I see no reason why this can't be employed in the service of creating a modern approach to traditional.
All that said, I still expect to see a lot of product directed toward Generation Y during market week. And that's fine. The torch is being passed. But it appears the hand-off may not be proceeding as rapidly as expected.