By Jennifer Quail
SECAUCUS, N.J.-- If there is one certainty when it comes to today's consumer, it is that she keeps changing and opening up to new ideas, creating an interesting game for retailers and suppliers.
James Garvey, national sales manager for Bashian, said the company's customers have proven they are changing with the times, noting that, across the country, the trend has been more for softer contemporary and transitional designs over the past 18 months. "Places that were bastions of traditional have been coming in and asking for transitional," Garvey said. "Before it was just a niche, but it's continued to grow."
The belief here is that people tend to gravitate toward things that are stylistically different from the products and colors with which they grew up. Therefore, someone who grew up in a traditional home, even if they appreciate its style, is not likely to copy it piece-by-piece. More often than not, consumers take design cues from eras and locales outside the realm of their everyday existence. To that end, the latest collections at Bashian have looked to the Art Deco period and Asian culture for inspiration. The resultant designs take softer approaches to the Zen and Deco themes and use combinations of wool and silk to add depth to the patterns.
"It makes me think of a Jean Harlow movie," Garvey said of one of the designs in the Deco-inspired Hampton Collection.
As always in rug design, a big part of bringing the Hampton Collection to the marketplace was updating the time-honored Deco styling with a color palette more suitable to today's decorating tastes. Garvey described the hues selected for Hampton as "simplified colors for our stressed lives," a design direction that has been echoed by multiple designers and vendors recently.
"People's days are filled with so much stimulus," he said. "They just want something peaceful when they get home."
Still, expectations here are not for the home furnishings business to return to a pure Zen, monotone palette any time soon.
"With so much furniture today in leather and microfiber, you really need color on the rug," Garvey said. "Otherwise, the room is very boring."