Springs Takes New Tack On Market

At The New York Market — Springs Industries has revamped its approach to introducing new product, replacing what had been several floors of open-line goods segmented by product category with a single trend floor to showcase its design capabilities.

Product that will actually be going out into the world is segmented in eight customer-exclusive "showrooms" reserved for Springs' key accounts. According to Springs' executives, the strategy acknowledges that the way the company goes to market has changed dramatically.

"It's how everybody is thinking, or should be thinking," said Gary Filippone, senior vice president of creative development.

Retailers now begin their visit on the trend floor to review Springs' cross-merchandised presentation of important lifestyle segments.

The thrust is conceptual, and a good deal of the design on display exists solely for the purpose of sparking discussion later in private product development meetings.

"We feel this not only shows what we think is important, but where we're headed," Filippone said. "In the direction this industry is going, you have to be ahead of the trend yesterday."

The trend review replaces a floor-by-floor journey through bedding, bath, basic bedding, rugs and window treatments that ran to three hours or more. Company executives said the format had grown out-moded since its key account business is devoted to creating exclusive product.

Exemplifying the new approach is a rustic, wooden table display in the Garden trend area of the floor. The table is laid with table runners and napkins made of shirting fabric and placemats made variously of polished stones, interlocking metal rings and pads of moss.

"There is nothing that we make on this table, that's what's so exciting," Filippone said. "We feel really challenged as creative people. This company has recognized he importance of creativity. If you're not going to mean something that's unique, what are you doing?"

Garden is one of six lifestyle trends Springs is presenting. It includes traditional takes on the garden, with vibrant colors pulled from flowers and stems.

It encompasses lattice motifs and linen. But it also ranges from a 1950's sensibility to the modern, offering large-scale, Georgia O'Keefe-style floors as well as a distressed toile pattern on flocked velvet.

The Modern Asia lifestyle embraces spa elements and tells a largely neutral story punctuated with color to convey newness.

Modern Luxe interprets traditionalism through a modern sensibility with dress-maker details, tailored looks and a style that evokes the simple elegance embodied by Jackie Kennedy in the early 1960's.

Euro Pop focuses not on European design but on the global motifs that have influenced Europe, including North Africa.

Mid-Century Modern updates the streamlined but textural design characterized by Rob and Laura Petrie's New Rochelle home. The lifestyle area even presents adult interpretations of twin beds.

"There's been a resurgence of twin bed purchases. We felt it important to readdress that from a functional standpoint, something that could be used in a guest room," Filippone said.

The final lifestyle — Cirque de Soleil — focuses on color in all its range. The area presents color families, tone-on-tone color pairings, brights and black and white stories.

"It's not about youthful, it's about sophistication. Yes, it can be youthful if the customer needs it to be, but it's really about the color story," Filippone said.

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