Should we be identifying trends as “feminine” and “masculine”? Absolutely not, says Springboard Future’s Tom Mirabile

Consumer behavior and trend expert Tom Mirabile, who is also one of HAT’s trend advisors, recently spoke to us about the inclusivity of trends and what he is most excited about for the fourth quarter.

Q. Will trends differ by price point and if so, how?

I think we can expect just the opposite. Home trends continue to move towards the inclusive, that is, whatever the trend, every audience is invited to enjoy it. I think on the supply side, it puts more pressure on suppliers to bring trendy products to every channel of trade possible. Trends today are as much social as they are physical, we all like to respond to them in our own way – or ignore them. Take the Barbie trend – an overnight ubiquity thanks to the theatrical release – enthusiasts can get their Barbie on with a luxuriant Judith Lieber Couture Roller Skate Crystal Minaudiere for $7,295 or cuddling a flocked Barbie Pets Mini Collectible Figure for $2.97.

Q. Should we still be identifying trends as “feminine” and “masculine”?

Absolutely not. There are plenty of reasons for this, but the most obvious is that in doing so, we are effectively excluding about half of the potential audience for the trend and the product created in response to it. That said, we must remain gender-aware, since some of the greatest advances in the gift industry have been gained by identifying gender-related gaps. One example is the “men’s gift” boom the industry experienced in response to the rise of modern hipster culture. Ironically, this fed a long-felt hunger by female consumers for appropriate gifts for their male partners, relatives and co-workers.

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Q. What is one trend you are excited about in the 4th quarter?

I’m really excited about the re-emergence of display furniture and furnishings in the home. For the past year there has been terrific growth in display-oriented offerings including étagères, display units and decorative shelving. This trend has been visible in every decorative style from high traditional to the cleanest ultra-modern styles. But the message it sends speaks to the re-emergence of displaying objects and collections again. Even within the contemporary zeitgeist of “less is more,” there is an irresistible drive to display objects which have personal meaning, objects which remind us of where we’ve been and where we’re going. I’m not talking about a hoarder’s display of tchotchkes, but furnishings that create a place of honor for objects of meaning, whether that’s a stack of books, a treasured, edited collection, or maybe even a well-preserved Barbie or two.

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