In the event industry, there are leaders and followers--especially when it comes to design. Anyone can emulate the work of others, but being ahead of the trends is a different skill. Learn how to spot what’s hot before it catches fire so you too can predict trends before they happen.
1. Look outside the event industry.
If you want to anticipate the next big thing, you need to look outside of the event industry.
The fashion and home decor worlds are typically where you’ll find the newest colors, fabrics, textures and patterns, and are often where the most cutting-edge events designers find their inspiration.
The real estate world, oddly enough, knows this as well, and has long relied on interior designers to divine the next season’s hottest trends, then show them off in model and staged homes.
Fashion magazines such as Style and Vogue are my go-to sources for new shades and styles. Home decorating magazines are often regional and can help you capture the latest look in your neck of the woods.
Even the aisles of popular home stores reveal hints of next season’s biggest trends. Just make sure you look at the newest items--not the clearance racks from seasons past!
2. Turn to social media.
While Instagram is full of inspiration photos, you have to know what you are looking for if you want to see into the future.
Follow a wide variety of more cutting-edge accounts. One I watch, in particular, is Jeff Lewis, the “Bravo” TV network designer for homes and real estate. I love his work, and it lends itself beautifully to rentals.
3. Use trends to your advantage.
When purchasing product to fit a design trend, I ask myself: How we will work with the item, fabric or style when the trend dies down? Are there other ways to interpret trends that will keep client interest up? How can we create new concepts from past pieces?
Some styles have true staying power, and popular items will stick around for a long time. We find innovative ways to present them. Fortunately, from a purchasing perspective, not every trend comes and goes overnight.
The key to staying ahead of the trends is to know where to look. Make your own designs stand out by finding great sources of inspiration, then learn how to make the elements your own.
Heather Rouffe is the director of sales and partner of Boynton Beach, Fla.-based Atlas Event Rental, a full-service event rental industry serving the southern Florida market for more than 30 years. Atlas has been included on the latest Special Events “30 Top Rental Companies” list.