Editor's View - March 2014

Is Color Coming Of Age In The U.S.?
By Wanda Jankowski, Editor-in-Chief

In looking through the previews for the New York Home Fashions Market and the High Point Market featured in this issue, and from attending other press previews around town, I’ve noted that a wide variety of options are being introduced this season to satisfy both the trend conscious and those who crave something different. It also appears that the role of color—especially bold, bright tones—has become more important in creating fresh designs with youthful appeal for everyone.

I recall walking through Heimtextil several years ago, overwhelmed by all the luscious bright and pastel palettes that made European designs so eye-catching. Most of those color stories never made it to the more conservative U.S.

But now, perhaps the recession and long recovery have made Americans more desirous of colors that elicit joy and optimism. Suppliers seem more confident in offering some vibrant color stories than they had in the past. Today’s introductions use color to update classic motifs for fresher looks and pair bright shades with calming neutrals to create modern, enlivening “pops” of color.

Drilling down beneath big trends, there are products out there to satisfy the needs of sizeable niche groups and some skew off-trend in the use of color. For example, navy blue is the best-selling color in Sunham’s Hugo Boss fashion bedding—reflective of the popularity of the same color in the brand’s men’s apparel line. Shades of red in fashion bedding are successful in Sunham’s Lacoste and Hugo Boss brand lines as well, as red has particular appeal for the Latino and Asian markets and for Californians who crave bright colors.

Lacoste is also filling a void in the comforter sector by debuting solid color comforters for those who don’t wish to conceal them in a duvet. Saturated red, green, dark blue and orange are among the colors joining white in the new line.

When it comes to color trends, a flurry of announcements from rug suppliers hit late last year that they had products ready to go in Radiant Orchid, the Pantone 2014 Color of the Year and we published a few of their offerings. A look through our pages in this issue at new market introductions reveals, well, no Radiant Orchid.
Leslie Connell, vice-president, sales and operations, Abyss & Habidecor, candidly wrote to me recently, “We think Pantone is wrong. Lilac and purples trended for us in 2011 and 2012. Colors trending for us in 2013 with carryover to 2014 are almost all of our blues, especially the vibrant colors like lagoon, turquoise, Hawaii and peacock.”

Perhaps along with U.S. consumers’ growing acceptance of a bit more color in their lives is an increase in confidence to buy what they like instead of what someone else decides is the “trend.” A couple of seasons ago, Tangerine Tango was a big hit, along with its related shades, especially in apparel. Whether Radiant Orchid catches on remains to be seen. Meantime, enjoy the colorful eye-candy during your showroom visits in New York and High Point!

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