Greensboro, NC ⎯ Furniture last fall at High Point Market and the spirited fashion designer is back for another showroom debut this spring. Hooker company officials said that the Pretty, Sporty and Curious groups were a big hit with buyers in October, incorporating several of Rowley’s fashion design sensibilities into upholstery and case goods statement pieces, and the buzz about what’s next is one of the spring market’s key stories.
Designers Today recently interviewed Rowley about the inspiration for her furniture line and about how her furniture and fashion designs complement today’s consumer lifestyles.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST DESIGN PROJECT AS A CHILD?
Rowley: I started making clothes when I was seven. That led to go-karts, tree houses, and decking out my room in colors that were far too swanky for a seventh grader.
WHAT FASHION DESIGN STRATEGIES CARRY OVER INTO YOUR FURNITURE LINE?
Rowley: The same way I think about my wardrobe, I think about my home. I approached designing this furniture collection the same way I would a ready-to-wear collection. Start with the color palette and materials. Next up is the silhouettes and shapes. Add in the print and pattern and finish with details. In fashion, it’s a trim or buckle. With furniture, it’s a drawer pull or a mother-of-pearl inlay. Choosing the hardware is like finding that perfect button.
WHO ARE THE DIFFERENT CONSUMERS YOU ENVISION FOR EACH COLLECTION?
Rowley: The possibilities are endless. We hope you style your home in your own personal way.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN CREATING A FURNITURE LINE?
Rowley: The most important thing was to create a collection that was special and authentic to my work, but one that also gives people the ability to interpret it in their own way and to infuse their style and personality into their home. For the consumer, a big challenge is that the purchase is potentially much bigger and seen as an investment. But just because you’re investing doesn’t mean you should play it safe or buy something neutral — it’s the opposite. You’ll have the piece for life; if you love it, you’ll find a place for it. Don’t worry about it if it works. Sometimes the unexpected is what makes it exciting in a room.
WHAT’S NEW FOR SPRING?
Rowley: We are adding new pieces and reimagining a lot of the existing collection in new upholstery. Look for new additions throughout 2016 including rugs, hardware and lighting.
GOING FORWARD, WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL DETERMINE WHAT A CONSUMER CHOOSES TO PUT IN HER HOME?
Rowley: I’ve always thought your home should be a happy place. If you like certain pieces and they make you happy, then don’t worry if the sofa doesn’t match the drapes.
HOW CAN RETAILERS CREATE A “MUST HAVE” DESIRE FOR NEW FURNITURE?
Rowley: It’s all about the emotion involved. We’ve shot the collection in beautiful settings that we hope will inspire people, as well as using social media and even doing events and personal appearances to get people as excited as we are.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DESIGN TOOL?
Rowley: My imagination.
WHO ARE SOME OF THE PEOPLE OR WHERE ARE SOME OF THE PLACES YOU FIND INSPIRATION?
Rowley: We have a great design team, and we all share ideas, so something we are doing on a handbag could inspire hardware on a dress, or a tortoise material for eyewear could show up on your cocktail table.
Prior to her role with Designers Today, Cindy attended markets as both a consumer home furnishings editor and interior design client. She has written about the design industry for more than 15 years and still finds editorial inspiration in every corner of the world, from Italian villas to Atlanta urban lofts to country escape tiny homes.