In the past couple of weeks, several people have asked me how I think trend will change in a COVID-19 world. This is an important question, given the vital role that trend plays in assortments.
To begin with, I believe that the language used to communicate about products softens. Already, many companies have put excitement on the back burner in favor of calm-and-caring messaging. We are in this together. Let’s care for one another. Each of us must do what we can. Take a breath. These sentiments, featuring a complete lack of exclamation points, will become the new language of trend into the foreseeable future.
Next, color will reveal countertrends in consumer response to our Stay-at-Home experience. The majority of people will crave hues that promote relaxation. Easy-to-live-with mid-tones have been building for a while. Now COVID-19 becomes an accelerator that makes them the go-to personality for comfort. A smaller, yet significant group will look instead for distracting brights, utilizing balancing neutrals to ensure overall appeal in anxiety-free homes. Watch for emerging neon pops within neutral palettes that rely heavily on off-whites, incoming browns (especially light and middle values) and black.
The mood is right for edgy contemporary styles to back off. As that takes place, tradition, which has been building slowly for about two years, is poised to fill much of the void. Now that the market has learned to streamline these time-tested forms, use unexpected materials and adapt motifs to a more casual personality, tradition doesn’t look stodgy anymore. And because traditional style has been away for so long, it also feels fresh. Consumers will not even perceive that they are reaching for something familiar and dependable.
For the past 40 years, consumers have shown a preference for sophisticated décor. However, as a reaction to this crisis, they just want to be happy again, to laugh and to be playful. That’s why I’m banking of a revival of sophisticated whimsy. Designs will elicit a smile, not a laugh, be uplifting and perhaps even thought-provoking. They will be pivotal in setting a healing tone for home décor.