Over the past 16 years, New York-based hospitality designer and entrepreneur Stacy Garcia has been steadily building her own design empire. She has created products for esteemed brands such as Bernhardt, Brintons and Durkan at the same time as building her own eponymous studio and lifestyle brand, and a commercial textile company named LebaTex, which she set up in 1999. Striving to create products that bring about a sense of well-being, Garcia’s designs can be found in five-star hotels, resorts and residences across the world.
We sat down with Stacy to talk about her design work and trend forecasting and to find out how she stays ahead of the curve.
How has the North American market’s enthusiasm for pattern and color changed over the past ten years?
The residential design market is influenced by the world surrounding it, so any trend shifts in pattern and color oftentimes reflect changes in society. For example, during the recession in the United States, we found our clients tended to buy safer investment pieces, rather than risky statement pieces. However, recently, I have noticed more bold patterns and colors gaining popularity in the residential design market. This current shift could stem from the Millennials who are striking out on their own and not afraid to bring adventure into their new-found spaces.
Do tastes and trends differ between states? And is this something you consider when creating a collection?
Tastes and Trends will vary by region. In hospitality design, I have seen an even greater emphasis on hyper local authenticity. When people stay at a hotel they want to feel connected to that specific location. For example, if you are vacationing along a sandy coastline, you probably want your hotel room to reflect that same tropical serenity. Therefore, during the product development process we consider designs appropriate for different locales and terrain such as, urban, coastal, and mountainous regions. With that being said, there are occasions where hospitality is still willing to take risks and pull influence from other locales. For example, a southwest inspired kilim finds it way into the design of a boutique hotel in New York City.
As a chair holder at the Color Marketing Group, how do you see color trends progressing into 2016?
For 2016, we see a story of dichotomy. On one hand, beautiful, blush-y pastels that build on the enduring popularity of neutrals will be prevalent—think oatmeal, cashmere and linen tones playing on a rose gold palette. On the other hand, watch out for more vibrant colors, tidbits of neon, and electric hues. This will be seen with cosmetic pinks, corals and beautiful powdery pastels contrasted with interesting wood finishes and warm metals for an inviting and updated look. Those who are feeling bolder will gravitate towards punchy pastels mixed with burgundy and navy.
What about shape and texture?
Overall, we predict the key textures for 2016 are chunky knits, feathers, fringe, suede and leather. These textures will create an inviting sense of warmth and comfort while simultaneously complimenting either neutral pastels or splashes of bold hues.
Are there any key influences to be aware of in terms of overarching macro trends driving these shape, color and texture trends?
Art, media, fashion, politics, the environment and the economy are all key trend influencers. My team and I always begin the design process by analyzing this macro level because it allows us to see how these factors are impacting specific product categories. A few specific trends we see for 2016 is finding quiet harmony amongst an ever-growing technological society, and expanding upon the revival of travel-inspired, free-spirited creativity.
Are there any examples you can give as to how you are integrating these trends into your up coming collections?
For starters, the growing emphasis on this need to always be connected has created a movement to find quiet simplicity amongst the noise. In order to compliment this desire, our Blush + Plush trend focuses on calming neutrals and soft, muting materials. Our Urban Nomad trend draws on global influences, uses splashy hues and layers patterns that reflects individual style in a polished manner. You will see each of these trends interpreted in current and new product collections.
How far in advance do you begin work on a collection?
Typically, we start collection development 18 months out from concept to completion.
In recent years, many interiors trends outlets have reported a blurring of lines between office, hospitality and home environments, with offices, hotels and restaurants all adopting a more relaxed, homely approach to their interiors. Is this something you have witnessed and adapted to?
Blurring the lines between hospitality, office and home has certainly impacted the design industry and even my own work. I’ve found that this appetite for good design is brought on by consumers traveling more extensively. They have become increasingly more design-savvy and are looking for ways to incorporate features of hotel living into their own homes and even their workplace.
With this in mind, you recently launched your first residential collection. How did the design process differ to your work for your contract hospitality clients?
Similar to my commercial design process, trend forecasting was one of the first steps in designing for a residential market. This allows me to differentiate between short-lived fads and evolving trends because, ultimately, I am designing for the end user, whether a hotel guest or homeowner. However, I was able to enjoy a lot more freedom in terms of finishes and materials. While designing for a hospitality market, I am limited to materials designed to withstand high-traffic. For example, in our Stacy Garcia | New York, Paper Muse collection for York Wallcovering, I was very excited to use velvet flock and glass bead for wallpaper designs, materials we wouldn’t use in our commercial line.
What has the response to the first residential collection Paper Muse been like?
I am pleased to say that we have received a lot of positive feedback! It has been fun to start to see how interior designers and homeowners are using the products, Consumers are responding well to the collection’s vibrant colors, a signature of our brand. I incorporated unique details into my designs, such as mixing oversized watercolor florals and classic paisley patterns with velvet flocking, metallic ink accents, glass beads, sand and glitter. All of the patterns (there are 16 in total) offer homeowners a complete design story that celebrates eclectic design with a high-art appeal.
Do you know what your most popular designs of 2014/15 have been? Or perhaps you have a stand-out favorite?
It’s so hard for me to pick a favorite––I’ve truly enjoy the process of designing all of our collections. Although, if I had to choose, I would say my favorites for the Stacy Garcia | New York brand are our Paisley Park, with its encrusted glass bead detailing and Aquarella, which is a bold and colorful watercolor floral pattern!
Do you have any new and exciting collaborations on the horizon?
We have a few new collaborations in the works including, a new partnership with Townsend Leather. We are currently finalizing our first collection with them, which will launch in November 2015.