Kate's Collage
"Vinny Da Vendor"
"Benny Da Buyer"
Kizer & Bender
Memory, Paper & Stamps
Category Reports
Designing Perspectives
Scene & Heard

Creative Leisure News
306 Parker Circle
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-760-5071
Email: mike@clnonline.com



The industry as seen by top designers.

Printer Version

Trends at the Atlanta, Dallas Gift Shows

Trends we'll probably see in our industry.

by Tracia Williams and Lynda Musante (February, 2004)

We recently visited the Atlanta Gift Show and the Dallas Holiday Expo and found many similarities – as well as some surprising discoveries. The focus on home dec continues and embellishments of all sorts and styles were abundant.

Both shows had similarities: Holidays were focused on red, white, and silver. The Snowman was seen more often than Santa. Candy themes were popular in both shows. Transparency in ornaments, ribbons, and lights were in many displays.

Naturals had a big presence: twigs, leaves, berries, and feathers were all over. Home dec was embellished with feathers, marabou, charms, beaded trims, fringes, wire, and stones; everything was very dimensional. Common surfaces such as candles, glass bottles, and lampshades were embellished with beads, charms, or trims. Clothing and apparel accessories were embellished with feathers, marabou, shells, beads, fringe, and charms. Charm bracelets seem to be more popular than ever!

The biggest shock in Atlanta was finding imported Altered Art. A nice-sized showroom that primarily features primitive country dec accessories had an entire line of altered art designs created by a mixed media artist and produced in China. Since altered art/mixed media is still in its infancy stages in the craft industry, seeing it already being mass produced was a bit surprising.

Atlanta Gift Show.

Prominent Colors: Orange and warm colors were very popular decorating colors ... Aqua ... Lilac ... LOTS of white with everything ... Two-color combinations are still very strong – black/white, pink/orange, red/white, lime/orange, lime/pink, lime/bright blue ... Silver, nickel, and pewter are far more popular than brass or gold finishes

Styles: Simple Elegance means clean lines, functional and fresh in manner, comfortable and practical; this is the "new" country look ... Retro Chic – funky/fun accessories with a nostalgic feel, with kitschy accessories ... Island – palm trees, banana leaves, monkeys, orchids, parrots, shell trims and bamboo ... India – palm trees, elephants, paisley, silks materials, beaded trims ... Sophisticated Romance – floral, beaded trims, sheer ribbons, and weathered, whitewash finish.

Trends & Themes: Red Hat Society – Red hats on everything from throws to charm bracelets ... Charms on everything! – from candles to blue jeans, charms were on home dec items, apparel, greeting cards, and of course jewelry ... Pampering Your Pet – fun and stylish goodies for pets ... Hair Jewelry – glitzy goodies to put in your hair – from butterflies to tiny hearts – jewelry pieces on all sorts of findings for the hair ... Feathers and marabou on home dec pieces such as pillows and lamp shades, as well as apparel items such as like jackets and purses! ... Verbiage – sayings and words on EVERYTHING, including jewelry, apparel, pillows, wall decor, garden stones, purses, throws, and even candles!

More Trends: Purses! Novelty purses with buttons, sequins, charms, ribbons, and nostalgic images such as Nancy Drew, Elvis, or pin up girls on them ... Romantic Jewelry such as chandelier earrings and accessories to match (hair jewelry fell into this category) ... Outdoor Decor – decorating the outdoors for holiday or everyday seems to still be on the rise, especially colorful wind chimes and sun catchers ... Candles and candle accessories are still extremely popular; just when you think there could not be another way to market a candle you would see 10 new ideas.

Motifs: Flip flops, beach balls, umbrellas and other beach motifs ... Butterflies and dragonflies are still popular ... Bright red poppies ... Hats, shoes, purses and other "girlish" motifs ... Vintage images – sepia photos or black-and-white images embellished with rhinestones, enamel work, buttons, etc. ... Pineapples – these were sometimes mixed with palm motifs.

Holidays, Christmas: Whimsical but not "cutesy" ... Red and white – very little green ... Candy themes ... LOTS AND LOTS of crystal glitter ... Transparent ornaments ... SILVER, not gold ... Snowmen still seem to be popular – much more than Santa ... Lots of berries on vines with minimal greenery ... The color green seems to be OUT – especially deep green.

Holidays, Autumn/Halloween: Whimsical pumpkins and ghosts – not cutesy ... Black cats ... Leaves in pumpkin, harvest gold, sienna, and olive green ... Accents of copper ... Vines with berries and twigs – especially artificial leaf garlands and bittersweet vines ... Light and Medium Olive greens mixes with traditional fall colors ... Nostalgic printed materials on decor – especially vintage Halloween cards or cutout that are transfer to fabric and sewn to pillows or totes.

Dallas Holiday Expo.

Color: Soft tones – peach with coral, lilac ... Antique gold with rich warm color, not cheap or glitzy ... Silver metals: Pewter finishes that aren’t cheap or tacky ... India-influenced patterns and fabrics – lots of citrus orange, paisley, embroidered, beads ... Two color combinations:

lime/pink, lime/purple, antique gold/burgundy, red/black ... Multiple color combinations: plum, lime, black & white pink, lime, taupe, black & antique gold.

Style: Furniture – wicker & rattan furniture shown in casual and elegant settings ... Lots of carved, dark wood with large mahogany & teak pieces growing in prominence; almost no blonde wood or pine other than in a whitewashed finish ... Lighting – lots of candles and chandeliers that were either very elegant or fun & whimsical ... Lampshades – trimmed with feathers, beads, images, wire ... LOTS of pillows – comfortable, spa, resort-like ... Mirrors – modern, gilt, carved, on walls, tables, and furniture ... Hanging beaded curtains.

Fabrics: Toile: 2-color combinations: red/white, red/cream, pink/white, blue/white, blue/cream, and lilac/white ... Old fashioned fabrics – gingham checks, lace, floral prints ... Global influence – Asian, African, and Tuscan motifs.

Tableware: 20s to 50s ceramic dishes, messages on dishware, elegant.

Trends & Themes: Sparkle not shiny – on ornaments, table decor, fabrics ... Dripping, elongated, hanging fringe ON EVERYTHING ... Pearls were on trees, fabrics, and bedding ... Transparency + shimmer – tulle, organza ribbons, and fabrics were seen in every decorating style, as well as holidays ... Mosaics – not random, but neutral (shades of color) or themed with pink flowers and green stems ... Aged surfaces – chipped, crumbling, worn, whitewashed and chipped, peeling paint with beige or caramel color underneath.

Motifs: Wire and wood bird houses – white washed or in pastel colors ... Crosses – metal, wood, carved and highly ornamented ... Repeating Squares – with motifs on walls, on furniture, on fabric, with florals ... Hearts – on fabric, ornaments, pillows, walls, lamps, and clothing ... Quality outdoor living for patio with many accessories ... Falling water – floor and table fountains, or wall art ... Animals: Polar and brown bears; horses – large bronzes, on tables, floors, book ends; moose.

Motifs/Kids: Hot, citrus-y colors for clothing, accessories, bedroom furnishings, and toys; personalized or personalize-able ... Boys: primary colors, trains, fishing ... Girls: pastels or vibrant secondary colors in purple, aqua, tangerine, lemon yellow & teal; butterflies, fairies, flop-eared bunnies; message pillows; pampering: lotions and slippers; girl power – messages, feather boas, tiaras.

More Motifs: Inspirational words: walls, pillows, clothing, furniture ... Red Hat Society and accessories ... The Beach as a theme for room decor, clothing, accessories ... Flip flops on everything ... Pastel yellow, aqua, lilac, pink, tangerine.

Florals/Fruit: Naturals – Rocks, wood, and other naturals were very prominent in day-to-day home decor ... Curly willow, bamboo canes, sticks in containers ... Gourds, plain and embellished ... Pine cones ... Twigs – balls, garlands, coiled tree forms, swags ... LOTS of vines and moss ... Red berries – with twigs, vines, swags, wreathes, on trees, and chandeliers with pepper berries or cranberries ... Embossed leaves on furnishings, fabric, pottery.

Flowers: Iris, poppies, dahlias ... Moss – sometimes lumpy or smooth ... Stems on display in containers – calla lilies, amaryllis, tulips ... Beets, pomegranates, pears, and red apples were popular ... Large low arrangements on tables, coffee tables, sideboards; often dripping over the edges of the surface.

Seasons, Christmas: LOTS OF WHITE! Green trees covered with so much "snow" you could barely see the green ... White trees with white accessories ... 1950s metallic trees in citrus colors ... Lots of red & and white, candy canes, and peppermints on trees and for decorating tables ... Feathers on trees, and completely covering table-top trees, especially in white ... Many naturals mixed with evergreen, sisal, or twig garland ... Lots of transparent ornaments ... Trees completely covered with ornaments – no bare spaces.

Fall: Lots of Halloween, jack-o-lanterns, more happy than scary ... Black cats and friendly ghosts.

We’ll be writing about more trends after our HIA trip!

Note: For previous columns written by Lynda and Tracia, click on the titles in the right-hand column. Any comments or questions? Any suggestions for topics for future columns? Email Lynda Musante, Nifty Development Corp. at lsmusante@aol.com and Tracia Williams, Tracia & Co., at traciaw@earthlink.net .

For more on trends in the gift industry, click on Category Reports in the left-hand column.



horizontal rule

horizontal rule


Designing Perspectives Recent Columns...
DESIGNERS HELP GROW YOUR BUSINESS...in more ways than you can imagine.

FROM A BRAINSTORM TO A PRODUCT LINE; The journey from an idea to a hug line on store shelves.

HOW TO PROFIT FROM MIXED MEDIA; A sneak preview of a seminar on one of the industry's hottest trends.

MAKE IT UNIQUE OR COPY A MODEL? Sometimes a consumer wants it unique, but other times...

"CROWDSOURCING"; The Future of Design? Design by and for the masses.

THOUGHTS ON THE STATE OF DESIGN; Who decides what is a good design?

CHA EVENTS FOR DESIGNERS; Seminars and events to grow your business.

WHAT HAPPENED TO CREATIVITY? An experienced designer doesn't like what she sees in stores.

ADVICE FOR PUBLISHERS AND DEISIGNERS; What questions to ask each other.

HOUSE JUDICIARY CONTACT LIST; Contact them to delay the Orphan Works bill.

AN EDITOR VENTS...about unprofessional designs.

MORE DETAILS OF THE ORPHAN WORKS LEGISLATION; And the harm it could do to the industry.

THE ORPHAN WORKS BILL; A threat to designers everywhere.

MORE THOUGHTS ON PAY FOR DESIGNERS; Demanding more pay, the right brain / left brain conundrum, and a historical perspective.

LOW PAY FOR DESIGNERS...drives them out of the industry and is unfair.

DESIGNERS IN THE GHETTO; Fair pay for essential work.


CHA TO LAUNCH DESIGNER EDUCATION DAY FOR 2007 SUMMER SHOW; And expands License and Design section for the Winter show.

HOW TO SELL YOUR GREETING CARD CREATIONS...without having to print them.

RULES FOR BUSINESS...rules for life.

THE FUTURE FOR DESIGNERS...and how manufacturers should use them.

THE NEXT BIG THING...Trends you'll see in 2007.

TOO MANY PATTERNS! Basic economics: a glut of anything lowers the price and the perceived value.

ADVICE FOR DESIGNERS; Take off the blinders and tell a real story.


CHANGING CUSTOMERS, CHANGING CATEGORIES; Categories rise and fall, and today ...


A CALL FOR CUTTING EDGE DESIGNS; TV producer needs designers.

A VENDOR'S VIEW OF WHAT DESIGNERS REALLY NEED; Savvy inventiveness, not just designs.

HOW DESIGNERS MUST COPE WITH A CHANGING INDUSTRY; Diversify, improve, and maintain standards.

HOW AND WHY CRAFT DESIGNS ARE CHANGING; Because younger consumers want less structure (among other things).

CHA's INSPIRATION AND DESIGN FAIRE; Designer-exhibitors faired well at CHA's newest show feature.

10 TIPS FOR SPOTTING A TREND; It's not tricky, but it requires work.

ARTISTS -- IN THEIR OWN WORDS; Why they make art.

MY LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH MICHAELS, PT. I; Why chains' education programs aren't what they could be.

CHA SUMMER SHOW TRENDS; "The simple, flat, non-dimensional page is a trend of the past.

MARKET RESEARCH ON DECORATING TRENDS; "Casual" decorating is our most popular style, but not by much.

HIA 2004: WOW!; A bonanza of color, themes, and products.

TRENDS AT THE ATLANTA, DALLAS GIFT SHOWS; Trends we'll probably see in our industry.

IT'S IN THE BAG; Why making purses is so hot.

TRENDS AND DESIGN; What's new and what's hot.


ACCI TRENDS: PRODUCTS & DESIGNS; Scrapbooking, yes, but lots more, too.

DESIGNING THE LIFE OF A PRODUCTS; Without good design there are no sales.

WELCOME TO OUR WORLD; Two busy designers reporting on trends.