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Cindy Hodnett

Influence of runway fashions seen in furniture

HIGH POINT - Fashion is a key theme at this week's market, and the influence of the runway on the furniture industry can be seen in showrooms at every price point. Popular colors in apparel are showing up in fabric, leather and even case goods, and several showrooms have incorporated items like dresses and handbags alongside sofas and beds.
The relationship between furniture and apparel fashion has existed for decades, but the advent of social media is transforming it into a "happening now" product strategy. In response, many manufacturers are finding creative ways to plug into fashion trends.
Gretchen Aubuchon is founder and editor-in-chief of Fashion + Décor, a website and blog that creates what she calls "StylePairs." Aubuchon describes StylePairs as "matchups of runway and interior design looks" that she uses to help people navigate trends in fashion and decor.
"I saw all of these things on the runway that work in the living room, so I started a blog," Aubuchon said in an interview at Company C, a source of rugs, furniture and other home goods. "The blog led us to build a database, and we now have 130 designers on our site."
Company C is showcasing the relationship between fashion and furnishings in its market showroom. Aubuchon said the display highlights the starting point of furniture design.
"This is the first time that fashion has been featured so prominently in High Point, but this really is fashion week for the home furnishings industry," she said. "There has been a big change in High Point - 12 years ago, it was a very different place."
Aubuchon added that social media have shortened the turnaround time between fashion and home furnishings from years to days.
"What you see on the runway is happening now in many furniture companies," she said. "I go to fashion week twice a year, and showrooms like Company C are showing trends from spring 2013 at this market. And I'm wondering if the furniture industry will start influencing fashion now. For example, ikats were in the home first and then showed up on the runways last spring. There isn't a multi-year turnaround time between the two industries anymore."
Christine Chapin, co-founder of Company C, said her customers say they are ready for color.
"So many dealers come in and say, ‘This is what I want,'" Chapin said. "Our dealers who are putting more fashion into their showrooms are seeing results. It's a fun-to-wear, fun-to-live-in idea, and it's changing the industry."

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