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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mad For Color!

Wall of Lamps originally uploaded by Steelight.
I am mad for COLOR! Color lets me be creative. It lets me be me.

Color, texture and pattern go hand-in-hand with fashion and fashion trends. They form the basis for Fashion Statements. For the majority of women consumers, fashion is what flooring decisions are about. After all, aren't these consumers choosing products to help express their sense of style and individuality in their home?

Here then follow several color and fashion resources I have come across and list in a new blogroll section titled "Color & Fashion Links" over on the right hand side of Flooring The Consumer.

  • Sensational Color by Kate Smith is a fabulous color resource featuring color related quotes, photography, perspective, inspiration, and even a color related Squidoo lens [Color: Meaning, Symbolism & Psychology on Squidoo].
  • Michelle Lamb from The Trend Curve shares her trend views at Connecting The Dots. You'll notice lots of photos capturing the latest trends from her travels around the world. I'm partial to this site because my very good and talented friend Carole D'Arconte shares her keen color and trend views. See "Florals Look Right for Men in St. Tropez" in the July 2006 archives.
  • The Runway Scoop from Maria Palma [author of Customers Are Always] provides a practical and refreshing view on the happenings in the fashion industry. I consider this a grounded view on fashion and how consumers interpret runway messages. Some of this will get translated to home furnishings!
  • I came across The Cool Hunter while reading this article "Trend Firms Use Blogs to Search for the Next Big Thing" by Mary Riekert from the 9/21/2006 issue of The Age in Melbourne, Australia. It's a fascinating glimpse on how ideas travel around the world, how they influence personal fashion statements, and how this is happening instantaneously. The Cool Hunter showcases fabulous design pictures as well as relevant news items from all around the world.
  • I subscribe to trendwatching.com's and iconoculture 's newsletters [free].
  • The Color Marketing Group [CMG] is one of the premiere organizations for color forecasting. At the CMG 2nd annual designers summer luncheon on July 18, 2006, I heard Maxine Lauer, President of Sphere Marketing, Inc., discuss macro and micro trends in the marketplace. She explained how the experiences of different demographic groups affects home and fashion design, and how we need to be aware of the changes in society being brought about by the internet to stay relevant to consumers.

  • This article from Home Lighting & Accessories [Fall of 2005?] titled How to Woo Your Customers gives a taste for Maxine's and Michelle Lamb's messages.

    The September 11, 2006 issue of HFN magazine featured an article titled "Trend Expert: Contradiction Can Be Key to Better Business" by Nancy Meyer. It talked about Robyn Waters, author of "The Trendmaster's Guide" and recently "The Hummer and the Mini: Navigating the Contradictions of the New Trend Landscape", and formerly Target VP of trend, design and product development.

    The article refers to several trends from her most recent book: "everything old is new again" [think Vespa scooter, Mont Blanc pens, handmade stationery paper, cell phones with global positioning....], "mass customization" [think iPod, Mini Cooper, myjones.com for customized soda], "luxurious commodities" [think Philippe Starck at Target, Whirlpool's Duet washer/dryer], "extreme relaxation"[think calling a toll-free number in Austria for "1 minute of silence"] and "social capitalism" where combining profit with purpose is the goal [think Body Shop, Aveda, Costco].

    You can read more about Robyn Waters in this Fast Company article by Linda Tischler titled Masters of Design: Robyn Waters - Founder and president of RW Trend, LLC from: Issue 83, June 2004, page 73. It describes the role that trend, design and product development play in creating differentiation in the mind of the consumer.

    Be sure to look at the link to Masters of Design: Lessons From the Masters also in Issue 83 on page 62. The lessons are: 1. Design is the Differentiator; 2. Those Who Write the Rules, Rule; 3. Confront the Unfamiliar; 4. Make It Real ; 5. Get Emotional.

    Finally, take a look at this fun article titled Color forecasters looked into coffee cups and saw the future by Nicole Tsong in the 10/2/06 issue of The Seattle Times. It describes how color trends happen - the influences [think Shrek as well as Starbucks], the role culture plays, the interpretations... It's a great read and puts the colors around us into perspective.

    Consumers want to make fashion statements, especially in their homes. So, how do we provide them with the right choices? How do we showcase color and fashion trends in our flooring stores? I'd love to hear what has worked for you.

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