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Color outside the lines

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, April 28, 2003

If you subscribe at all to the theory that trends surf back and forth between home furnishings and apparel, you'd better start looking at the fashion pages of local newspapers.

These publications are better harbingers of what's happening in consumerland than the glossy fashion books that thrive on the outrageous, and better predictors of what consumers will buy this season to put on their bodies.

And, don't ignore TV. Having had the opportunity recently to look at the myriad morning, evening and during-the-day "TV magazines," the fashions of today are clear. Color is back, and pink and orange are among the favored.

In recent years, much of what these newspapers, TV shows and magazines were showing were directions that came from the home furnishings business. This season is definitely no different. In fact, this could well be the season that points to the home as the place where fashion trends begin — basic beige and neutrals to the contrary.

Look, for example, at the explosion of pink and citrus shades like lime and orange. Orange, especially, was the headliner at Heimtex three years ago. And, of course, way back then there were naysayers in the home arena that said American consumers would not accept this strident color. Yes, "American" consumers were singled out by the mavens as more conservative than their counterparts in Europe and elsewhere.

Think of what's happened since then across the whole home fashions landscape, where orange in one shade or another has moved in as more than a fashion statement for the fashionistas. Now, orange — as well as other citrus shades — is moving strong in the fashion world.

Pink is now reverberating in the home, as well, marching on a parallel path with the apparel business. The recent home furnishings market showcased a lot of pink — from hot Schiaperrili shades to pales.

It's time for more folks in home furnishings to look around them — and at the media carrying the messages of what's new and stimulating. These are points that might just stimulate consumers to buy without a coupon or the incentive of the lowest price on whatever home textiles product is being devalued.

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