Brand Innovation Pulse: Fashion + Furnishings

A Brand Jam column highlighting strategies in innovation and consumer engagement. This edition highlights two recent examples of effective contamination between home furnishing and fashion styles.

CB2 x goop

It used to take a long time to earn a marketable expertise and reputation for good taste – the years of practice needed to become a famous designer or build a brand aesthetic. But as the internet continues to give us insight into the minutiae of other lifestyles, reassurance of good taste is something that consumers are prepared to accept from an increasingly diverse range of sources. In an environment where curation can be valued as highly as creation, perceptions of expertise become more fluid.

Recently, Cabana magazine introduced a stunning collection of homewares through the moda operandi fashion platform, while Gwyneth Paltrow’s goop empire provided the taste, name and headlines for a 53-piece range of furniture and décor for the millennial-facing homegoods chain, CB2.

With a few notable exceptions, fashion and interiors have rarely mixed well in the past. The proliferation and popularity of niche lifestyle portals and boutiques in the digital era points to the possibility that brands and names with reputations for being containers – rather than creators – of ideas will be increasingly valuable to the positioning, style and communication objectives of décor brands and retailers.

Radley London x Sanderson

Just as consumers are more likely to gravitate towards products curated by renowned arbiters of taste, there is a growing appetite for product decoration to also come from a house of repute. Prints and patterns that used to be reproduced anonymously with a purely stylistic purpose are increasingly playing a part in the branding mix of those that use them.

Among the style library names that resonate in the broader market, it’s interesting to note that interior textile brands are much more compelling and aspirational than their fashion textile counterparts.

Last month saw Laura Ashley’s patterns make in into the girls collection at Urban Outfitters and VQ’s high-tech radios, while the esteemed soft furnishings archive Sanderson celebrated its second collaboration with Uniqlo and saw its Roslyn print cover a range of women’s bags by Radley London.

British and Japanese consumers have become accustomed to seeing textile brands in unfamiliar contexts – particularly over the last five years, but the constituency for branded offerings from libraries like Sanderson, Liberty and the V&A continues to widen and spread.

About Gavin Brown

Founder of brand innovation agency, Crescendo Brands...providing research, insights, creativity and leads to brands in need of remarkable products.