At a recent furniture show, I attended one of the countless breakout sessions on diversity. The speaker droned on about the need for diversity in the workplace. As a designer I was looking (perhaps praying) for insight on more diversity in product development in the marketplace. Clearly increasing the numbers of participants around the conference tables might result in products that are more desirable to an increasingly diverse customer base.
At the heart of trend and product decisions is “who gets to decide” – what comes to market and how and if products meet the needs of the modern African-American consumer.
Different from the idealized notion of “what does it look like when we live elegantly in the bush,” (often subscribed to by Ralph Lauren) today’s African Americans are sophisticated consumers who make purchase decisions on the basis of their personal styles.
Concepts for collections, such as “classic,” “contemporary,” and casual” can be touch points for African Americans as well as for the general public, but manufactures and retailers must begin with the understanding that THERE IS an African-American style as it relates to home fashion.
This style is driven by ancient inspirations and modern interpretations defined by a unique sense of style and fashion leadership, but equally as important, accented by a new sense of pride and accomplishment.
Tell me what you’re thinking.