Image Source: Home Accents Today
Last October, the Fall 2020 High Point Market was the first major interior design industry event to be held in person after COVID had wiped most of the 2020 calendar clean. Attendance and vendor participation were only about half of its typical volume, but the October 2020 event was heralded as a great success, and led the way for other major markets and events to open back up with new health and safety guidelines.
This October, the scene at the Fall 2021 High Point Market looked a whole lot closer to 2019 than 2020. From October 16-20, interior designers, retail buyers, and product manufacturers and distributors once more flocked to the country’s mecca of furniture. Official numbers are not yet available, but Tom Conley, president and CEO of the High Point Market Authority, estimates that the number of buyers in attendance was approximately roughly 80% of a normal year.
Those who did attend the event report having a great experience.
“Fall High Point Market will go down in the books as one big LOVEFEST,” says Jane Dagmi, Editor in Chief of Designers Today. “The feel-good vibe started on Friday night with the Fitz & the Tantrums concert - everybody swaying together to empowered upbeat music – and wound down at Tuesday's Style Spotter breakfast, a tradition I still relish attending because it is so much fun to guess, who in the audience sitting among us, will be next year's Style Spotters. And then when the names are announced, there is a burst of happiness in the room.”
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Improvements to Event Format
Showroom appointments were highly encouraged to help control the flow of foot traffic, but to help Market goers get an advanced preview of everything new and exciting happening this fall, the International Market Centers’ (IMC) offered five ways to interact with its proprietary TrendWatch report featuring products from exhibitors:
- A pre-market webinar (a recorded version is available)
- A live at-market seminar
- A guided tour
- Three trend displays
- A digital lookbook.
The TrendWatch report featured more than 100 products by 70 brands organized by three identified trends, named Away, Malleable and Verve.
High Point also continued its Style Spotters series, organizing a team of design experts to report on their favorites from Fall 2021 Market’s exhibitors ahead of the October 16 event opening. This Fall’s panel included Sara Malek Barney, Lauren Clement, Heather French, Breegan Jane, Molly Kay Johns, Steve McKenzie, and Justin Shaulis.
Major Trends at High Point Fall Market 2021
These were some of the largest trends seen at Fall 2021 Market:
- Resort: Many of the featured products this season were pieces that could fit right in on an island resort. Note, the IMC TrendWatch also picked up on this, identifying “Away” as one of Market’s major themes.
- Unexpected use of materials: Some of the most exciting products debuted at Market employed an inventive combination of materials, like marble light fixtures, rough stone table lamps, and glass extensions on live edge wood tables.
- Sculptural design: Furniture and fixtures alike took on adventurous forms featuring anything from sharp angles to bulbous curvatures
- Decorative glass and metal works: Some of the most exciting art featured at Market extended beyond pencil and paint to glass and metal
- Bold prints: Many of the fabrics and wall art seen at Market were colorful and full of patterns.
Some favorites products that best represent what Fall 2021 Market was all about include:
Credit: High Point Market
Collaborations are IN
Many of the exciting new debuts were partnerships, like Fabricut’s collaboration with fashion legend Iris Apfel:
Credit: High Point Market
Textile designer Ann Gish launched its collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art – The Met x Ann Gish.
Credit: Ann Gish
Universal Furniture debuted its second collection with model and beauty entrepreneur, Miranda Kerr.
Supply-chain disruptions, inflation, and the longer-term impact of COVID were all visible challenges for vendors and buyers alike. Delays in furniture manufacturing and shipping are an industry-wide problem, caused by several factors including extreme consumer demand, inadequate shipping logistics, labor shortages, effects of global monetary policies, and production challenges made worse by extreme weather events.
But regardless of delays, the interior design industry continues to grow and the impact of limited product availability does not appear to be slowing down the number of orders coming in.
The Fall 2021 High Point Market sent a strong signal that the interior design industry is almost back in full swing, and the upcoming 2022 calendar of industry events is on track to be full of in-person events. Jane Dagmi says.
“Despite the challenges the industry is facing, there was a pervasive feeling of solidarity,” Dagmi says. “People were thankful for the opportunity to connect in person – I noticed that there were a bunch of design organizations that treated Market as a reunion. Hugging was the preferred greeting and the upholstery, covered in plush textiles with arms that almost looked human, seemed to hug back. I'm still smiling.”
While supply-chain delays will continue to create delays in 2022, the furniture market will continue to remain hot with pent up demand, so interior designers, vendors, and other industry aficionados have much to look forward to in the new year!