The Nature of Influence

“We live in a world that somewhat survives on the nature of influence; if something happens in the West, that something eventually skips its way to us,” says junior stylist, Monica Mtshemla

Imagine a flat stone bouncing across a body of water. Now imagine the person throwing the stone being a particular field like fashion, the stone being skipped a trend and each ripple the stone makes representing all other fields such as art, decor, design, etc.

This is what happens in life, which means if a trend touches one field, it’s sure to cause a pleasant (or sometimes not so pleasant) disturbance in others. This theory was taught to me back in college and I was reminded of this concept by the national manager of Home Fabrics, Natalie Stevens.

While speaking to her about trends for an upcoming feature in our July issue (on shelves soon) she mentioned how the shift of trends from one area to the next happens a lot faster these days.

I went looking for some examples of when fashion has had a direct influence on decor, or is it the other way around?

“Part of the botanicals is overscaled jungle leaves (delicious monsters, banana leaves, palms) which are very much a huge focus for now which we’ve seen coming through from fashion; the transition from fashion to interior is happening a lot faster,” says Natalie Stevens.

Overscaled leaves aren’t the only elements under the botanicals umbrella. Botanicals also make reference to florals which we have been seeing in fashion, decor, in architecture, green design and more.

This is a personal favourite of mine. Tribal prints have been around for centuries and as the name suggests, we owe this trend to different tribes, from Aztec to African and Native American. My personal theory of why this trend greatly affects all fields is because of the worldwide surge to forge authenticity. It’s a trend that speaks to all races, ages and pockets.

This trend has to be executed well. I first saw it come through in fashion, then into homes and homeware, then everywhere. Unfortunately, with this trend, you could step out of the house looking like you got dressed in the dark or people could think you decorated your home during a load shedding period. I do, however, think this idea works particularly well in the garden – you can’t go wrong with single-colour flowers planted en masse.

I’m not quite sure what the real name of this trend is or if it’s a trend at all (feel free to offer your comments in the section below), but I know it is something that exists in architecture, Mies v.d Rohe’s Farnsworth glass house, as well as and other fields such as fashion and industrial design (as seen above).

This trend could easily fit into the tribal trend, and rightfully so. I can’t really pinpoint who started it. I can say that it’s timeless and is easily translated into other areas.

I can fondly remember seeing these plastic tartan bags in JHB CBD as a child and they reminded me so much of my aunt and all the luggage she dragged around with her between two countries. These bags can still be seen today because ‘Scotch never dies’ and it lives on influencing major fashion labels on the other side of the world.

Not used as excessively as it was in the Baroque art period, this trend has survived through many forms – mainly fashion, decor and design.

As it’s winter this wouldn’t be such a bad trend to follow. We’ve seen faux fur go from scarves and head wraps to a teacup in the Dadaism art movement (by Meret Oppenheim) and then to throws, cushions and rugs. I remember my dad owning shabby chic faux fur car seat covers back in the day. There are even faux fur wallpapers. Let’s just be grateful that this didn’t catch on.

(Disclaimer: To my knowledge, all fur used in the above images is faux. I am an animal lover and pro PETA.)

It’s so easy to take all this cross pollination for granted, but it’s important to know where it all started in order to know where we’re going. I see the next years to come as interesting times in the design world. I can’t wait to see what we will wear, live in, eat and plant in our gardens.

Until the next post, cheers!