At this year’s Autumn Fair visitors will have the opportunity to discover the key macro trends in homeware to look out for in the season ahead. The insight into spring/summer 2015 style direction will come via WGSN Homebuildlife, which foresees ‘nature in high-definition, history reimagined and the influence of biological designs’.
The Creative Director of WGSN Homebuildlife is Lisa White, who spoke to us about her illustrious career in the world of design and what it takes to help shape global tastes.
A multi-cultural multi-national, Lisa White is an American who lives in Paris and works in London. She began her career at the trend forecasting office of Li Edelkoort, where she launched and edited the iconic professional magazines View on Colour, INview and Bloom. Proficient in the languages of colour, design, materials and marketing, Lisa was early to recognize the growing importance of industrial design to the creative and business worlds.
As Creative Director of Hombuildlife, part of the WGSN group, Lisa and her team have launched and developed the only B-to-B trend forecasting website focused on interiors and product design that announces and analyzes key trends in lifestyle, industrial design, decoration and over 18 specific product categories, as well as retail. She is also director of the Think Tank on WGSN, which analyses long-term consumer trends for the industry.
You have a long and distinguished career in trend forecasting, what attracted you to this field and where do you find inspiration for your work?
The field found me! I had no idea what it was about when I interviewed with Li Edelkoort equipped with only a political science degree at the age of 23, but I knew that I wanted to work in a field that combines creativity with insight and analysis. Inspiration can be found anywhere, at the supermarket, in a museum, in other people’s homes. If you are curious and aware of your surroundings, you can find great ideas on a daily basis, in everyday life.
Definitely the lifestyle movements such as the social kitchen, the open bath, and the outdoor living room. On a more aesthetic level, we have definitely been able to accompany our clients on the trend towards warm metals such as copper and brass, and warm colours such as coral and yellow, over the past few years.
Which trends have stood out for you personally over the past few years?
Experience Design, the movement that associates products and design with real-life moments and experiences has been key. We have created an entire section of our site devoted to it, as it touches everything, from food to decoration to visual merchandising and retail.
Trends come from every direction these days, but social media is obviously a key driver. We are publishing a report at the end of September on how social media is affecting interiors shopping. TV is also key—a few years ago we published a report on Mad Men interiors. Many large companies now carry 50’s and 60’s inspired furniture, and Waterford has just launched a beautiful series of Mad Men tumblers for drinking cocktails.
Homebuildlife was initiated when WGSN realised that its clients—even the 100% fashion clients–wanted and needed to know more about consumer lifestyles and the future of design in general. We have expanded exponentially in the four years since we have launched. Our service is online and B to B, and gives our clients in-depth information on both the top line interiors business, as well as macro trends two years in advance, which then drill down into specific details for over 20 product categories, including tabletop, decorative accessories, and seasonal. And of course we offer unparalleled trend analyses of trade shows such as Spring and Autumn Fair, Maison & Objet, and High Point, among others.
How clued up in general are retailers in this sector when it comes to trends and fashion?
The larger retailers are usually on trend, but it takes smaller retailers more time since they do not have a devoted trends department or time to fully research trends. This is where Homebuildlife can really help.
Are there any companies you really admire (in both the homeware and other sectors) for their trend-setting products or services?
There are many, but some of my personal favourites are Hay, Denby, Seletti, LSA, and Petite Friture.
Again, there are many, but Grace Hill, Rex International (bottom right), Two’s Company (right), Jersey Pottery and Crumble Cottage were some of the companies that caught our eye and were featured in our trade show reports.
What can Autumn Fair visitors look forward to seeing from Homebuildlife when they come to the show in September?
Our Trends for Spring-Summer 2015: a half-hour webinar featuring three key macro trends and colours as well as specific examples in tableware, decorative accessories, bed, bath, kitchen, kids, print and pattern, stationery, and more…
Why are shows like Autumn Fair important to retailers and do you think homeware buying has become more spread out over the year rather than being concentrated around spring?
Homeware buying is more spread out than it used to be, as there is constantly so much newness in the market, but it is clear that much of the trade shows are still focused on September and January.
How does the WGSN Think Tank work and who is involved?
Think Tank is our big-picture directory that analyses the key socio-cultural movements that are shaping trends. We feature consumer insight such as reports on Generations X, Y and Z, technology updates, lifestyle analysis such as the Urban Consumer and more inspirational topics such as light or hospitality,
Based on our latest global macro trends, for Spring Summer 2015, we are focusing on appealing to the 5 senses in ways that can be both digital and physical; we are also merging real history and imagined futures to offer products that look both heritage and contemporary; and we are increasingly inspired by biology and the possibility of living materials to replace polluting plastics, in products that are moving towards a more relaxed and softer style. Come check out the webinar to hear more!
Catch the trends at Autumn Fair International 2015: http://www.autumnfair.com