This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

June 9, 1999

Built for Comfort: Fabrics & Furniture for Tomorrow

206 days until January 1, 2000

Anyone who has gone shopping for clothing will tell you that clothes made of fabric with a good "hand feel" are plentiful in the stores this season. We're here to tell you that this development is the beginning of a major trend--a trend towards comfort in fabrics, in clothing, in furniture.

With all of the stress in our lives--having to do more with less--people have little tolerance for discomfort in the fabrics and clothes they wear, as well as their furniture.

The fabrics that are selling the best are the ones that feel good to the touch and therefore, on our bodies. Easy-care (easy to clean) is still important, but less important than the feel. The sensuous synthetics are carrying the day.

Think about the trend towards business casual clothing in the workplace. We know that a relaxed, business casual atmosphere fosters greater productivity. Business casual, in general, is less formal, less form-fitting, and more comfortable than traditional business attire. Women don't have to wear stockings and high heels; they may opt for more comfortable pants suits, trouser socks, and lower heels. Men don't have to wear restrictive ties or wingtips, but may instead opt for polo shirts and loafers.

Furniture, too, reflects our "new" lifestyle. Look at any commercial on TV or printed advertisement showing a family and you will probably see at least one family member lounging on the floor, people with their feet up, in general, folks just relaxing at home.

The furniture that's selling is not the formal, straight-backed, hard-cushioned styles, but the over-stuffed, melt into the pillow variety. People are seeking comfort in their furniture, as well as their clothing.

And the fabrics people are choosing on that furniture feels good, too. The rough-textured brocades that were so popular yesterday are giving way to soft leathers, cottons, and even silks.

It's interesting to think about how this trend will play out in other areas of our lives. Consider the fabrics that are used in cars, airplanes, trains, boats, decorating. People will want more seating comfort and "feel" in their lives.

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