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Friday, April 15, 2011

Where are the designers?

One common refrain among dealers is there has been a decline in the number of desingers frequenting shows in the last few years. I am interested in hearing thoughts as to why. Of course I have my own ideas.

1. Furniture manufacturers have embraced the production of new things that look old. Look no further than Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn. Is anyone bothering to make anything that looks new anymore.

2. Because of the proliferation of items made to look old, the need to do the legwork in finding material has been made much easier for designers.

3. Shelter magazines that have long been advocates of antiques and vintage have embraced the made to look old new material.

4. The antiques/vintage industry has failed to embrace methods to inspire a new generation of customers.

Not that all is lost, talented people within the industry are working to address these issues. Anyone care to chime in??


  1. All this sounds about right to me.I call it the Pottery Barn effect.If dealers fail to embrace the trends as set in PB/Anthropologie/the blog community, etc. they run the risk of becoming outdated.You can't buy the same stuff you were buying years ago.The trick is to teach the PB shopper that the vintage stuff in our booths is better.First you've got to get them in the booth and I think at this point the way to do that is to stage the booth like PB/Anthropologie.You've got to show folks what they can do with it, how they can decorate with it.If we begin setting and acknowledging the style trends at antique shows the decorators will come back because they will want to find it first.The looks stem from what we're selling but if we don't present it in a contemporary/younger people friendly manner than we become irrelevant.That said, I never can figure out why folks buy the PB stuff which was made in China and spend 6 times what I'm charging for the vintage piece.Of course, that also means I'm probably failing to accurately convey style in my own booth.I tell you I think about this all the time.How to get the right buyer to the venue AND how to educate folks so they are the right buyer.

  2. Antique/Vintage items have character/soul that are hardly ever replicated
    , now while many can be satiated by soulless, hollow duplications, those with a keen sense of presence, a discerning demand for that which is real will continue to buy Antique/Vintage. And those who do not care about spirit,the visual history of life that is openly displayed in items that are old, will buy whatever.