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Interior Design & Fashion:
Mirrored Industries

Photographed by Joelle Beauchamp of Autumn Cockroft

By Autumn Cockroft

There is no denying the link between interior design and the fashion industry. This can be dated back to the Victorian Era, where similarities can be found between draperies and women's skirts. Now, in 2023, the connection is stronger than ever due to the advance of technology. Rather than waiting for the seasonal runway to see what’s hot in fashion, interior designers can now access this same information with a quick Google search; thus, leveling out the playing field. As a result, some of the most successful fashion designers are now applying their runway designs to their living room. Gucci, for example, dropped Gucci Décor back in 2017. The infamous bold, maximalism patterns can be seen on a variety of décor and furniture—from cutlery, to sofas, to wallpaper. So, what exactly do the two industries have in common?
There are obvious similarities between interior design and fashion, as they are outlets for individuals to create their own identity, but with this, they both have the power to affect psychology.

It is no secret that one’s environment plays a major role in overall mood and behavior. That is why interior designers have been studying psychology since the beginning of time. Specific design features can invoke both positive and negative emotions. Sunlight, for example, has been proven to improve productivity and mental health. Additionally, researchers have been studying the effect of color on people. Ever notice that a lot of restaurants are painted red? This is because red has been proven to increase appetite. Blue, on the other hand, makes people feel calm, but is the least appetizing color. Life is unpredictable, but we have the power to design spaces in a way that supports and comforts individuals and their goals.

In fashion, there is a psychological phenomenon called enclothed cognition which recognizes the effect that clothes have on the individual wearing them. This is just a fancy way of saying “when you look good, you feel good”. This concept was more prevalent than ever after the pandemic, when most of us wore pajamas for months and months on end. Researchers tested this theory out by doing a study on the effects of wearing the traditional white lab coat. Sure enough, the results showed that participants completed attention-related tasks more effectively while physically wearing the doctor’s coat, compared to when they were not wearing the coats.

Lastly, both interior design and fashion are rooted in functionality. Despite the art, the symbolism, or whatever it may be, at the core, both interiors and clothes serve the purpose of function; homes provide shelter and clothing provides warmth and protection.

Though the similarities are strong, there are a few distinct differences between the two. The first major difference is where trends are sourced. Designers research social, economic, and political lifestyle patterns as foundations for fashion trends, which come from a wide range of sources. Trends are pulled from popular movies or recycled in modern ways from the past. On the other hand, interior design is influenced by the fashion world. It is a trickle-down effect; the hottest pattern on a runway is likely to be seen in the form of wallpaper soon after.

Animal print in the 90s is one example of this. Zebra, leopard, and cheetah print were all over fashion magazines. These bold animal prints popped up on Cindy Crawford’s cover on Harper’s Bazaar in August of 1992, and on Helena Christensen in 1992 Versace on the runway. Then, the trend shifted to interior design. Animal print in all forms-- rugs, throw pillows, and accent sofas all became staples inside of homes in the nineties.

The rise of fast fashion is making trends circulate faster than we have ever seen before. While this inevitably affects the trend cycle, interior design could never keep pace with the fashion world, as it is much more affordable and accessible to change an outfit compared to a light fixture or a sofa. With that being said, interior designers will always get inspiration from fashion designers and their runways. So here are some of my predictions for 2023 interior design trends...

I imagine that there is going to be a shift towards chrome in the kitchen and bath. Chrome is timeless, but as it has been reoccurring on the runway recently, we can predict to see it make its way inside of homes next. The Louis Vuitton Cruise 2023 Runway collection seen in the spring lays the blueprint for this vision. The versatile metal can go into more modern spaces for a futuristic look, or it can be used in a more retro light as a blast to the past.

On that note, retro-revival has been on the come up between both industries. This year, as young designers and consumers continue to practice sustainability through thrifting, I only expect that trend to grow. The years of minimalism are coming to an end and the seventies maximalism is back. Alongside chrome accents, expect to see the warm and saturated analogous color palette and bold patterns make their way back into the living room.

These trends are evolutionary, they have been coming in and out of style for the last 50 years. Although, regardless of what is hot and trending, the most important thing about designing your home and picking out your outfit is you. The beauty of the fashion design and interior design world lies within the creative freedom and self-expression that comes with it.

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