Design influencers

By Vanessa Brady
March 26, 2020

Vanessa Brady OBE and SBID’s founder shares her thoughts on how lifestyle influences interior trends

At a recent SBID event, hosted at House of Harth in London, I was delighted to join Henrietta Thompson, founder of Harth, and Maryanne Cartwright, design manager at Graham & Brown to discuss what influences design trends.

It was suggested that social media is a main influencer and I agree that whilst Instagram has become the ‘directory of public WCs’, the biggest influence on trends is the way we live. As more jobs are for a three to five year term instead of for life, people are more willing to move around the world to accept improving career opportunities. This transient lifestyle means that more interim, short-term furniture is purchased rather than quality pieces for life. Think of the rise of IKEA and its range of affordable ready-to-assemble furniture.

Another impact on the way we live is multi-country trading which make business hours a constant, not restricted period. We are online out of formal working hours more and more.

Fashion has also been an influencer on interior products, dress codes have significantly relaxed possibly also due to how many more of us now work from home. Consumers have forced the fashion industry to have a social conscience and, in many ways, it has lost its dominant influence, providing the space for interior design to step forward.

Demographics provide the biggest insight into how we live. Society is changing and more people live alone than ever before. As a result more single occupancy homes are being built in place of larger houses. This has also influenced the way we eat, as more people socialise outside their home and, in recent years, more people order food delivery and eat alone as a regular occurrence. These social trends are reflected in what are prime considerations in the home such as cleaning, storage, sleeping and hygiene. Each are driven by the time spent in use and each decision is influencing the supplier’s conscience on the wider impact their choices create on the planet.

So, as we collectively act and are socially aware of the impact of climate change in everything we now use from a plastic bottle of water or carrier bag to the car we drive. Consumers are driving the demand for manufacturers to deliver their product with emphasis on lowering the negative impact on the planet to make their profit.