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GOTTFRIED SCHMIDT OHG (c) Weitblick, Gottfried Schmidt OHG
18.02.2020

WE HAVE OUR PRINCIPLES ... WEITBLICK | GOTTFRIED SCHMIDT OHG

WORKWEAR AS A SUSTAINABLE TEXTILE LOOP!

WEITBLICK | Gottfried Schmidt OHG with about 130 members of staff in Bavaria and more than 1,000 employees in European production plants is one of the leading German textile companies in the workwear and corporate fashion segments. Originally founded 1931 in Frankfurt / Main, the traditional family-owned company, now in its fourth generation, achieves a medium sized eight figure turnover.

Quick decision-making processes, a familiar atmosphere, production exclusively in Europe, customer-specific innovations and comprehensive sustainability concepts - what does the workwear professional do differently than others?

Sales Director Philipp Hartmann (Sales Support and Customer Service) and Janine Gonglach, Head of Marketing, together with Managing Director Felix Blumenauer, responsible for Marketing, Sales, Logistics and Controlling faced the questions of Textination.

WORKWEAR AS A SUSTAINABLE TEXTILE LOOP!

WEITBLICK | Gottfried Schmidt OHG with about 130 members of staff in Bavaria and more than 1,000 employees in European production plants is one of the leading German textile companies in the workwear and corporate fashion segments. Originally founded 1931 in Frankfurt / Main, the traditional family-owned company, now in its fourth generation, achieves a medium sized eight figure turnover.

Quick decision-making processes, a familiar atmosphere, production exclusively in Europe, customer-specific innovations and comprehensive sustainability concepts - what does the workwear professional do differently than others?

Sales Director Philipp Hartmann (Sales Support and Customer Service) and Janine Gonglach, Head of Marketing, together with Managing Director Felix Blumenauer, responsible for Marketing, Sales, Logistics and Controlling faced the questions of Textination.

Gottfried Schmidt OHG, a family company that will celebrate its 90th birthday next year, is considered as a professional when it comes to premium workwear. If you had to introduce yourself in 100 words to someone who doesn't know the company: What makes you unique?
Felix Blumenauer – Managing Director
We are a long-established family company that has reinvented itself again and again over the course of history. In the field of workwear, we stand for the highest quality across a wide range of industry segments and attach great importance to sustainability - this is also shown by our long-standing partners who produce our clothing in Europe. With our state-of-the-art logistics center, we prove that digitization and Industry 4.0 are not just buzzwords for us.   

In which markets and by which partners do you feel particularly challenged? And with which product innovations in the workwear sector do you think you can move the most?
Philipp Hartmann – Sales Director
Markets are changing faster and faster and that is a challenge per se. We want to continue to be reliable today and, in the future, that also means continuity for our partners. But how do we deal with ever new requirements from ever faster moving markets?
Focusing on the customer, we cannot remain in rigid structures. We at WEITBLICK achieve this through our corporate culture and our guidelines: courage, strength and confidence.
This culture holds our team together and this enables us to adapt structures more quickly. Due to our personal contact to our partners and our experience as a fourth-generation family business, we enjoy great trust in all markets and this assists us to make quick adjustments and changes without questioning our DNA.
The basis of our products is the quality of the materials used, the processing by a very well-trained staff in our own European production sites and, first and foremost, a team of experts who controls everything in-house from the fiber and the design idea to production and logistics and bring it all together under one roof. So, if you ask me whether all products will be flashing in the near future, the answer is: no. Our strength is the implementation of our customers' wishes and above all we put the brand, the CI of our customers, in the foreground on the product. Because a satisfied employee in the right workwear is the best business card for a company. So, if it should flash in the clothing in the near future, this is not a problem, but we realize ourselves much more concerned with our customer requirements around the products. Based on quality and sustainability we have been driving very well for a long time.

However, services, speed in logistics, controlling, order configurators and budget management as well as interface management are the actual innovations with which we convince our customers and partners today. For some time now, we have been relying on a team of employees who implements precisely these customer requirements across departments. For example, in addition to our own CI Workwear collection, a customer can also receive a protected customer shop from us, where employees can configure the coordinated collection and order according to a defined budget. The customer's purchasing and controlling departments have live insight into costs and inventories. The dispatch including personalization is RFID-controlled in Germany, picked on the carrier and sent all over the world. Does that sound innovative?

Tailor-made or solution for the major customer? The topic of individualization down to batch size 1 is gaining in importance today. How do you manage the balancing act between major customers and individual production - what does this mean for the processes of Gottfried Schmidt OHG? 
Philipp Hartmann – Sales Director
Why not the tailor-made solution for major and small customers? Until a few years ago, and even today in some cases, a customer’s logo in the colors red, green, blue and white was of course displayed by fabrics of the same color combined in a four-colored scheme. This is more or less a thing of the past. Nowadays, requests for different colors are additionally solved by the possibility of combining many articles. In doing so, we fall back on thousands of active articles of our own developments and a large selection of ingredients, fabrics and finishing options. CI collections can be produced very quickly in small quantities in our state-of-the-art production facilities. In one of our six European production plants, for example, we only manufacture made-to-measure orders from piece 1. This happens within very lean processes and just takes a few weeks.

At the same time, we have large capacities for the storage of our raw materials and a warehouse for prefabricated parts, which enables us to place them into stock for the customer. Companies are aware of the great importance of workwear and the partly missing transparency in processes or costs. Therefore, it is desirable to be able to order small quantities. We have access to dozens of wearer profiles and millions of wearers from almost all sectors and are able to combine this experience with today's requirements. I don't prefer the word "standard", but the fact is that we already offer our customers a wide range of articles and colors to choose from, as we are constantly releasing new collections for various industries. The processes, scrutinized with the possibilities of new tools and systems, are consistently adapted - the other way around. This enables us to work very automatically from small to large orders and thus process orders via our customer online shops or via interfaces with our customers' order portals. Order picking and logistics from piece 1 with the shipping method of your choice are no problem for us, because we have been operating the most modern logistics center in the industry since 2018.

With WEITBLICK you have chosen the look-and-feel of a German-language brand. What prompted you to take this step and what are the consequences for your international sales?
Janine Gonglach – Head of Marketing
The decision was made for WEITBLICK (Engl.: vision, foresightedness) because we always possessed it as a company. Not only the founder Gottfried Schmidt himself had shown vision or foresightedness. Each generation that followed also had and still has visions, that developed the company to what it is today. A company with thought leaders, doers, inventors, critics and perfectionists.
Also, in the future, we will meet the challenge of developing our products and our actions with foresightedness - for the continued existence of the company and for the benefit of our customers.

Philipp Hartmann – Sales Director
We serve a wide range of customers, from craft businesses to large global corporations. So, we have already been internationally active in previous generations. And the name has never been a limitation. Our employees in sales and customer service are trained accordingly, our documents and systems are multilingually available and maintained.

In which socially relevant subject areas do you see a particularly great need for innovation and action during the next 5 years? What is your assessment that your company will be able to offer solutions for this with its products?
Felix Blumenauer – Managing Director

We see a further growing importance of the topic of “sharing”. With our strong partners in professional service, we have been living this idea for many decades and see increasing importance in society. Clothing remains available in a cycle of the highest quality for many years - for us this is the sustainable counter trend to "fast fashion". In this context we offer digital solutions that satisfy our customers and our wearers and convince them, that WEITBLICK is the right choice.

We will act on these fields and consciously set the right accents – that’s how we understand corporate responsibility towards our employees and our customers.

For decades, the textile and clothing industry has been growing steadily worldwide. In terms of sustainability, to put it mildly, there is a rather mixed feedback for our industry. What is the Gottfried Schmidt OHG focusing on in order to meet its social responsibility?
Felix Blumenauer – Managing Director
We have long anchored sustainability in our company as one of the most important priorities in our strategy. This becomes apparent e.g. by the use of Fair-Trade cotton, which we bring to the market in large quantities together with other companies and suppliers in the industry. We think sustainability comprehensively. Each area of our company contributes to the fulfillment of corporate responsibility - towards our customers and our own employees.

There are various definitions for sustainability. Customers expect everything under this term - from climate protection to ecology, from local on-site production to the exclusion of child labor etc. What do you do to bring this term to life for your company and what seals or certifications do you rely on?
Felix Blumenauer – Managing Director
We have the highest standards in the entire supply chain, which we implement together with our partners and monitor closely. This includes fair production conditions in Europe with comparatively short distances, which are guaranteed by the internationally recognized SA 8000 seal. The avoidance of unnecessary packaging material, climate-neutral shipping and the reduction of plastic are also a matter of course for us. For example, we are currently working on using recycled polyester in the future. We are looking forward to the Green Button and want to qualify for this state seal of quality.

At WEITBLICK, you have chosen a consciously young form of communication. Whether Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest or relevant business platforms - social media clearly take a central position in your media mix. This is not necessarily standard in the textile rental service. Why did you choose this form of addressing?
Janine Gonglach – Head of Marketing
For us, WEITBLICK - far-sightedness - also means “venturing something new”!
From my point of view, in the digital age, the question for companies is no longer whether social networks should be used or not, but only how and to what extent. With more than 3 billion people who are now represented in social media networks worldwide, we no longer speak of zeitgeist, but of a must-have in the marketing mix. Our communication follows the guiding principle: "We do not conduct a monologue, but an open dialogue at eye level." Social media achieve exactly that! 

Breaking new ground means willingness to make decisions, overcoming fears - and thus courage to fail. Not every project can succeed. In retrospect, which entrepreneurial decision are you particularly happy to have made?
Felix Blumenauer – Managing Director
The transformation of our company. With courage, strength and confidence, we managed to reposition our company almost completely within a very short period of time. This includes the modern umbrella brand WEITBLICK, which for us is also an obligation to our actions. But also, the growth that we have achieved in the past four years with around 40 new employees. We have built a new logistics center - with highly modern processes that are largely automated, e.g. with intelligent RFID technology. In doing so, we are trying to take all employees with us on this journey, which is not always easy but the right track. The positive thing about it is that our long-standing as well as our new employees work for us on their own responsibility and with enthusiasm.

The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, CEO Textination GmbH

TV TecSTyle Visions proved its status as a leading trade fair of the European textile decoration industry in an impressive way. (c) Messe Stuttgart
11.02.2020

TV TECSTYLE VISIONS: IMPRESSIVE CONFIRMATION OF STATUS AS LEADING TRADE FAIR

  • High internationality and excellent visitor quality ensure top ra-tings

The trade fair combination for visual communication and haptic adver-tising, EXPO 4.0, was an impressive event with 421 exhibitors and 12,518 visitors held from 30 January to 1 February 2020 in Stuttgart:

  • High internationality and excellent visitor quality ensure top ra-tings

The trade fair combination for visual communication and haptic adver-tising, EXPO 4.0, was an impressive event with 421 exhibitors and 12,518 visitors held from 30 January to 1 February 2020 in Stuttgart:
TV TecStyle Visions, trade fair for textile decoration and promotion, enriched the trade fair combination with a top-class exhibitor offering, high internationality and an accompanying programme characterised by innovations and know-how transfer. It proved its status as a leading trade fair for the European textile decoration industry in an impressive way: 262 exhibitors, including all relevant companies from the exhibition segments textiles and technology, mark the importance as a European industry get-together every two years in Stuttgart. The leading trade fair confronts the uncertain European market situation and uncertainties in trade, the number of exhibitors remained almost constant compared to the previous event (2018: 270). The 126 international exhibitors came from 21 countries to Stuttgart. The top 5 countries of origin are Germany, Great Britain, Spain, Poland and Italy.
 
Many decision-makers from the Germany/Austria/Switzerland region
Within the framework of TV TecStyle Visions the visitors were particularly interested in the different printing processes, embroidery and textiles. The EXPO 4.0 trade fair combination attracted 17 per cent international visitors from 50 countries to Stuttgart. The appeal of the leading European trade fair is manifested with the top visitor countries Switzerland and Austria. 35 percent of all visitors to TV TecStyle Visions travelled more than 300 kilometres to Stuttgart.

The quality of the visitors has been a reliable constant for years: four out of five visitors are actively involved in purchasing and procurement decisions, 87 percent have concrete intentions to invest and 84 percent of the visitors want to invest in the next 12 months. An overall rating of the trade fair combination of 2.0 ("good") and a return visit rate for 4 out of 5 visitors highlight the positive synergy effects created by the parallel timing of the three trade fairs in the trade fair combination EXPO 4.0. This is also reflected in the amount of time visitors spend at the event - on average 4.8 hours at the three trade fairs.
 
Comprehensive accompanying programme
Apart from the exhibition offering, TV TecStyle Visions has been convincing for years with a comprehensive accompanying programme. Not only real innovations and trends that move the industry are showcased at the stands. At this year's trade fair the TecCheck Area acts as a look into the near future. In the digital microfactory nine companies demonstrated the possibilities of digitalisation in production under the coordination of DITF (German Institutes for Textile and Fibre Research, Denkendorf). A polo-shirt was made in one hour, from the 3D design and conception, through to the printing, thermosetting, cutting and making-up of the garment. The trend topics of the industry and the degree of innovation were also shown in the forum, such as the option of personalisation and automation in textile finishing/textile decoration/garment decoration. The TecStyle Fashion Show, the forum and also Charlie's Corner gave visitors a platform to exchange information and ideas and for know-how transfer, as well as another presentation possibility for the exhibitors.
 
The next TV TecStyle Visions takes place in the EXPO 4.0 trade fair combination with WETEC and GiveADays in two years. The dates 10 to 12 February 2022 are currently reserved.

04.02.2020

The fashion market: A move towards responsible consumption?

A study by the IFM - Première Vision chair
The fashion market in Europe and the United States:  A move towards responsible consumption?

Eco-responsible consumption is no longer a fashion trend, but a major groundswell now impacting the entire sector, from material sourcing to the consumer and the textile and manufacturing industries.
This is one of the major findings of a recent study by the Institut Français de la Mode as part of the IFM - Première Vision Chair that surveyed 5,000 consumers, who constitute a representative sample for France, Germany, Italy and the United States.

A study by the IFM - Première Vision chair
The fashion market in Europe and the United States:  A move towards responsible consumption?

Eco-responsible consumption is no longer a fashion trend, but a major groundswell now impacting the entire sector, from material sourcing to the consumer and the textile and manufacturing industries.
This is one of the major findings of a recent study by the Institut Français de la Mode as part of the IFM - Première Vision Chair that surveyed 5,000 consumers, who constitute a representative sample for France, Germany, Italy and the United States.

"For the first time, this study helps us better understand consumers' perceptions of the responsible fashion market and its products, and decipher their buying motivations and obstacles," said Gilles Lasbordes, Managing Director of Première Vision.
 
A real enthusiasm  
Eco-responsible fashion products are essential. Nearly 50% of European consumers report having purchased an eco-friendly fashion item in 2019 along with 46% of French consumers (including recycled, organic, made in France, and second-hand textiles).  

"These figures show consumers are committed to a level well above the estimate we would have expected, and indicate a real maturity in terms of their expectations. However, fashion is lagging behind other sectors such as food: the proportion of consumers who have purchased organic food products is over 60% in all countries. By the same token, especially in France and Italy, organic beauty products are meeting with real success, with 57% of French consumers purchasing them in 2019," notes Gilles Lasbordes.

In France, the 46% of consumers who bought eco-responsible fashion products are projected to spend an average of 370 Euros on fashion products (clothing and shoes) in 2019. Nationally, the average budget for eco-responsible fashion purchases per French consumer is 170 Euros, which is about 25% of the average budget for clothing and shoes in France.

What's driving this enthusiasm? In France and Italy, preserving and protecting the environment are the principal motivations behind such purchases. Consumers also pay special attention to the non-use of toxic chemicals. These concerns are well reflected in initiatives such as the Fashion Pact launched in the run-up to the G7 in Biarritz last summer.
     
Natural fibres and prices
The study also shows that, when searching for more responsible fashion products, consumers are very strongly guided by the choice of materials. They prefer natural fibres and recycled raw materials when they can, in particular when they are informed of their presence. Preconceived ideas about which materials are considered most harmful to the environment concern polyester, acrylic, polyamide and leather, respectively.

One of the other findings of this survey concerns barriers to consuming more responsible fashions, with one of the main barriers being a lack of information. The consumers feel they have a genuine lack of knowledge about eco-responsibility (its definition and criteria). Some 50.4% of French consumers admit to not knowing enough to select the right products.
 
Beyond a lack of education, another difficulty is access to these fashions, which consumers report not knowing where to find. This is a genuine obstacle for 39.8% of the French consumers canvassed. A lack of clarity of the offer - not much transparency on the part of brands, a multiplicity of certificates - and an under-representation of players - only 23% of French consumers reported knowing responsible fashion brands - is compounded, to a lesser extent, by the question of price, which is a barrier for 33% of French consumers.

On the other hand, style no longer represents an obstacle to the purchase of responsible products. Contrary to perceptions of only a few years ago, consumers today are aware that responsible fashion can be creative, desirable and respectful of the environment and people.

Lastly, consumers seeking to buy more responsible products are now faced with an offer that is still insufficiently developed in terms of their expectations. At the same time, second-hand purchases are increasing and feeding this trend: 56.1% of American women and 42.2% of French women purchased second-hand goods in 2019.
     
Made in…
For a majority of the French consumers surveyed, an eco-responsible fashion product must be manufactured in France (80%) or Europe (46%). This preference for national production is slightly lower in Italy (65%) and Germany (71%) but remains strong. "A product has to be manufactured as close as possible to the market where it is sold in order to reduce the negative impact of transport as much as possible," says a French consumer.  

Also, among the criteria to be met for socially responsible production, consumers emphasise respect for the health and safety of employees, a criteria that ranks far ahead of issues related to wages and discrimination of people employed in the sector.
 
A guiding hand to the fashion ecosystem
"The fashion ecosystem is being shaken up by this environmental phenomenon, with consumption in a state of strain and a slight decline in the mid-range, for example. This study will be useful to steer the sector, guide the market, provide precise analytic keys for industry and brands wishing to expand their offer. And that is also our objective and the role of Première Vision," underlines Gilles Lasbordes.

The consumption of eco-responsible fashion represents a significant growth opportunity for brands and labels. The next few years will certainly see the introduction of a new system that is more respectful of the environment and the social conditions under which goods are produced.

The results of this study were also used to enrich the experience of the show's 2,055 exhibitors - spinners, weavers, tanners, textile designers, accessory manufacturers and fashion manufacturers - and its 56,000 visitors - international groups and fashion brands - at Première Vision Paris last year 17 to 19 September in Villepinte.

 

More information:
Sustainable Apparel
Source:

Chair Institut Français de la Mode - Première Vision

ISPO TREND REPORT (c) Messe München GmbH
28.01.2020

ISPO: SPORT BECOMES A SYNONYM FOR HEALTH

TREND REPORT

  • Winter sports trends for 2020/2021
  • The winter sports industry is increasingly focusing on sustainability
  • ISPO Munich (January 26 to 29) to showcase next season’s products

Health will be one of the next decade’s megatrends. The sports industry is, for its part, one of the growth drivers, not least because society now views fitness as a synonym for health. In the future, athleticism will have an ever greater bearing on our everyday lives.

TREND REPORT

  • Winter sports trends for 2020/2021
  • The winter sports industry is increasingly focusing on sustainability
  • ISPO Munich (January 26 to 29) to showcase next season’s products

Health will be one of the next decade’s megatrends. The sports industry is, for its part, one of the growth drivers, not least because society now views fitness as a synonym for health. In the future, athleticism will have an ever greater bearing on our everyday lives.

“Medical fitness” refers to ensuring both a sporty lifestyle and the right medical care tailored to the individual needs. Winter sports are also set to assume a challenging yet important role in the future as a vehicle for teaching values within society. Veit Senner, Professor of Sports Equipment and Sports Materials at the Technical University of Munich, says: “Sports must be used as an emotional Trojan Horse for teaching skills and in particular for teaching values.”

There are also other challenges that will need to be faced in the next few years: Children and adolescents need to be encouraged to lead more active lifestyles and our aging population needs to be kept fit and mobile for as long as possible. Senner believes that winter sports could hold the key for today’s youth: “We need to demonstrate the kinds of educational content and values that can be taught through sports.” Attractive products and services therefore need to be created for children. The latest winter sports trends and pro ducts will be showcased at ISPO Munich from January 26 to 29.

Textile manufacturers are giving the winter sports industry an eco-boost
Swedish label Klättermusen impressed the ISPO Award jury so much with its first fully compostable down jacket “Farbaute” that they named it the Gold Winner in the Outdoor category and the winner of the ISPO Sustainability Award.

The first 100% biodegradable down jacket biologically decomposes on the compost heap after around three months (all apart from the zippers and a few snap fasteners which can be removed and reused).

When washed it does not release any microplastics into the environment. Norwegian clothing manufacturer Helly Hansen is launching a new membrane technology for winter 2020/2021 which can be produced without any additional chemicals. The microporous Lifa Infinity membrane is made using a solvent-free process and, together with a water-repellent Lifa outer material, provides extremely impressive protection from the elements. Helly Hansen’s new Lifa Infinity Pro technology also uses the spinning jet dyeing process whereby the color pigments are already injected during the fiber production process. This can save up to 75% water. What’s more, no harmful wastewater is produced.

The winter sports industry is increasingly focusing on sustainability
“The really big trend is for biopolymer fabrics and materials,” says Senner. “The idea is to replace the many different types of plastics that are used in the sports industry with biopolymers.” Together with his team, he is working hard to conduct in-depth research in both areas. This is a trend which French ski brand Rossignol has also identified, whereby it has focused on the use of raw and recycled materials for the production of its new Black Ops Freeride skis. The Black Ops Sender TI model was crowned the winner in its category by the ISPO Award jury.

Alpina Sports is also exploring new ecological avenues and launching a completely sustainable back protector made from 100% sheep’s wool, obtained exclusively from sheep in Switzerland and Norway. The back protector, which consists of three layers of pressed sheep’s wool, meets the standards for protection class 1 and boasts all the impressive properties that the natural material has to offer: In icy temperatures it remains supple, can both warm and cool the wearer, and is odorless. The ISPO Award jury chose Alpina Sports’ “Prolan Vest” as the “Product of the Year”* in the Snowsports Hardware category.

Swedish label Spektrum uses plant-based polymers made from castor oil as well as corn and recycled polyester for its ski and snowboard goggles. The ISPO Award jury was extremely impressed with both the ecological aspects and the execution and named the “Östra Medium” model the Gold Winner.

imm cologne 2020 © Koelnmesse GmbH / imm cologne / Thomas Klerx
21.01.2020

imm cologne 2020: Ready for better living

  • The industry kicks off the new year with a dynamic start

imm cologne drew to a close on 19 January 2020, with positive overall results. More than 128,000 visitors (including estimates for the last day of the trade fair) attended the event to find inspiration from the industry. Going against the trend for other industry trade fairs held early in the year, imm cologne achieved an increase in visitors compared to the most recent similar edition of the event (2018: 125,000 visitors).

  • The industry kicks off the new year with a dynamic start

imm cologne drew to a close on 19 January 2020, with positive overall results. More than 128,000 visitors (including estimates for the last day of the trade fair) attended the event to find inspiration from the industry. Going against the trend for other industry trade fairs held early in the year, imm cologne achieved an increase in visitors compared to the most recent similar edition of the event (2018: 125,000 visitors).

As in previous years, imm cologne also had a very strong international profile. Of the 82,000 trade visitors (2018: 80,704) around 50 per cent came from outside Germany. Despite the concentration visible in the German wholesale and retail trade, the event recorded a small rise in domestic trade visitors, again bucking the trend in recent years. “With these results, imm cologne not only underscores its prominent position in the global business; the increase in planners, architects and contract furnishers from Germany further emphasises its importance for the German market,” said Gerald Böse, President and Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse. The Managing Director of the Association of the German Furniture Industry, Jan Kurth, also gave the event a highly positive verdict: “For the exhibitors, imm cologne was a commercially successful trade fair that allowed the industry to make an excellent start to the 2020 furniture year. Cologne has once again demonstrated its significance as a platform for contacts and inspiration but also as an ordering fair. Together with all those involved, we will continue to strengthen the importance of this key event in a transforming market environment.”
 
The eight most important living trends of imm cologne 2020
How we live is important to us. An ever increasing number of people are considering how they can live and reside more sustainably, where they will live, with whom they will live, how their apartment should look so they can feel at home there and what the furnishings of their homes say about them. The international interiors show imm cologne is a mirror image of current interiors trends and demonstrates the inventiveness of furniture makers.

Interior design is currently becoming increasingly cosy, and the theme of comfort appears to be dominating not only private living space, but also property and hospitality areas. Following the bathroom, the entrance area is now also being discovered as an object of design. The wish for a good interior design appears to become all the more important, the more one wishes to or is forced to limit oneself to a few, high-quality furnishing elements. This is because, conscious limitation toa little is one of the trends characterising contemporary interior design.

Like in fashion, the pendulum seems to be moving from "more and more and cheaper and cheaper" toward a relative orientation to quality. In the process, there seem to be two stylistically and qualitatively differentiating main directions: while the interiors culture characterised by the design scene continues to prefer a reduced, simpler language of form with natural expression and materials, more glamour is called for in more traditional and in fashionable interiors worlds: it should be refined, be originally expressive and possess classic charm.

Yes, living is becoming more important. This is also an increasingly decisive factor for how life is organised, with concepts like co-working and co-living, the patchwork house or urban gardens. More thought is also being given to the things we bond ourselves with, and we tend to look twice before a decision is made in favour of a good piece. An orientation to quality does not necessarily exclude the search for bargains. While one person might research prices, the other researches the previous life of the item of furniture, including the origin of the materials, recycling capability and general harmlessness with regard to nature, climate and social standards. All agree that we want to live better: more comfortably, more stylishly, using space more effectively, more colourfully, smarter and more sustainably.

More natural living   
An ever increasing number of people are seriously attempting to change their consumer behaviour in order to initiate a trend turnaround toward a sustainable society. Consumer decisions with regard to mobility, mobile phone or nutrition, just as much as for furniture, are being increasingly evaluated under the aspect of climate neutrality. The story behind the product, the storytelling, is thus becoming more important all the time. This means that natural materials and solid wood are preferred in the home, not only for reasons of cosiness, but also with an eye to ecological considerations. Supporting decorative items, such as plants, untreated fabrics and indoor greenhouses are becoming important furnishing elements for home design and are also conceived of as statements. Furniture of high design quality also holds the promise of sustainability.

Wood and natural materials, but also lightweight design and recycling materials are being used everywhere where they are functional, meaning also for products that are usually manufactured from other materials. Bamboo is being tried out as an alternative to wood, just as much as plastic-reinforced paper as a leather-like upholstery fabric. Wickerwork of rattan, willow or bamboo brings a winter garden feeling into the house. The longing for natural living is keeping the trend toward Scandinavian design alive. It is after all associated with a near-natural, uncomplicated and original, rustic lifestyle, which is expressed in the traditionally simple design cultivated in the 20th century.

Greener living
We increasingly want to be close to nature: no new apartments are being built without balconies; apartments and houses with access to gardens or patios are in high demand, especially in urban areas. These touchpoints with nature are now also becoming an integral part of our homes, with patios taking on the role of a second living room. In the wake of the "Indoor – Outdoor" trend, weatherproof outdoor furniture now not only looks like it comes from the living room, it is also used there! Elegant materials and high-tech textiles also make it possible for them to be used indoors. An aesthetic difference is hardly recognisable in the upper price segment and, in the case of the new indoor/outdoor furniture, the comfort of use is also increasingly comparable. In the case of outdoor colours, the colour grey seems to have passed its zenith. White positioned itself as the base colour for outdoor furniture at the spoga-gafa trade fair in Cologne.

The furniture that suits this trend in some cases resembles that from the trend of more natural living: bamboo and wickerwork furniture is popular, but wicker armchairs of high-tech materials and more fashionable accents are also opportune. Plants are found as accessories not only in pots, but also on wallpaper. Green can be found in all shades.
 
Smarter Living  
Can we use an app to grow herbs? Can computers nurture plants to improve air quality? Does the climate have an impact on building services? Does a smart control system switch off the lights and the coffee machine when you leave the house? Smart applications are becoming ever more diverse, reliable and easy to use and can be tailored increasingly precisely to the specific needs of residents. As a result, smart technologies are increasingly playing a key role in architecture. Whether computer-controlled optimisation of indoor air quality, the innovative control and operation of shower toilets or the anticipatory and energy-optimised regulating of room temperature, smart technology is being increasingly integrated into the way we live.

Lamps that serve as Bluetooth loudspeakers; night tables with cordless mobile phone charging stations; cabinets that provide mood lighting; mirror cabinets with multimedia function, tables that adjust to our ideal amount of movement and sofas that note the individual favourite seating position; lights that help us fall asleep and beds that nudge us gently into another position when we snore. Technology is becoming an integral, ideally inconspicuous element of furniture.

More efficient living
Rising rents and smaller homes will continue to drive the demand for space-saving furniture. The first wave of the trend toward tidiness and renunciation aesthetics has already reached us from the USA and Asia. Renouncing consumption and restricting ourselves to the essential things in life are strategies for creating order in the home. And more and more people are finding this approach extremely beneficial. Order is trendy, so anything else is once again “uncool”. Quality over quantity could therefore be the perfect home furnishing philosophy for many people, especially as it is also consistent with the desire for natural living.
          
A trend for some time now has been small and compact sofas and armchairs with a design often oriented to classic typologies. Even more sought after in future will be affordable system furniture and compact individual items, which are scalable (adaptable to different room dimensions), variable (pull-out technology, etc.) and versatile. Life on a second level is also becoming trendy; the high sleeper is making a comeback. In view of the wide range of applications for such furniture systems, from the mini-apartment to the loft, suppliers are, however, attaching great importance to modern aesthetics in an urban living style that goes far beyond any teenager’s bedroom atmosphere.

Living more comfortably
We are worth it! Comfort is written in capital letters in every home (no matter how small), especially in the bedroom. However, investments are also being made in the bathroom and seating furniture. Comfort also involves several standards of building services; keywords here include the heated car seat, heated or cooled rooms. Compact, design-oriented seating, such as two-seater sofas or armchairs, is the trend in the upper product segment. Here, special attention is paid to ergonomics. Console table, wall rest tables or small shelves not only assure a sense of order in everyday life, but are instead an integral element of interior design.
          
And the favourite place for a comfortable hammock is found not only in the garden. It began with stools, and now bench seats, with and without backrests, have also been given soft upholstery to add a comfortable highlight to the kitchen and dining area. For sofas, the trend is toward a platform raised off the floor, which lifts the cushions to a higher level, as well as toward individualisation and adjustability. Integrated occasional tables are a theme.

Living without limits
The requirements of living are currently changing quite rapidly. More sophisticated singles apartments with a scarce offering of space and a lifestyle that also seeks freedom from conventions when it comes to furnishings are reinforcing the trend toward generously dimensioned one-room apartments with a loft feeling. These are complemented by one or two work rooms or bedrooms as needed. The flowing into one another of the rooms leads to a need for multifunctional furniture that marks living areas or delimits them from one another. Kitchen and living merge, the bathroom remains separate, if also, at least in the high price range, "en suite" and a little bit bigger. Instead of separate rooms, modern apartments present an open spatial structure, and compartmentalised apartments in old buildings are "aired out" through the removal of wall elements. Winter gardens and converted attics open up bright spaces, and generously dimensioned window fronts, ideally opening without thresholds, also optically expand the space outwards.

With the exception of built-in cabinets, single items of furniture are called for. Consistent collections and walls of cabinets in the living room encumber the feeling of freedom too much; mix & match is better suited. However, the single items of furniture must be combinable to this purpose. Finding the right balance in the design, autonomous, but not extroverted, pleasing but not boring, is the art of this furniture with classic qualities. Multifunctional furniture like tables that function convincingly as a workplace and dining area, freestanding sofas, cabinets that function as storage space and wall elements, room partitions that enable functions on both sides (like integrating the pivoting monitor that can be used from both sides), mobile furniture for indoors and outdoors; these are the heroes of living without limits.

Colourful living
Among the colour trends in interior design, brown is surely the one with the strongest impact, because it can be used both neutrally and in an avant garde fashion. On the whole, shades of brown are responsible for cosiness and are therefore currently very popular. While things are very harmonious in the range from greige through taupe to moor oak, the combination of, for example, nougat brown with other, mostly reserved colours (meaning not used in neon or pastel) ranging from orange to turquoise is also quite bold. However, whether with green, pink, purple or brown, colour brings glamour into the apartment. Dark wood shades, reminiscent of Art Deco or Danish modernity, with gold, brass or other metallic accents on sumptuous rugs stand for pure luxury. While the overall interior design trend is toward dark colours, from dark greens and blues to black, the minimalist interiors style remains loyal to the lighter and more natural shades. Avant-gardists pledge themselves to the Bauhaus tradition with primary colours colourfully combined with a white base colour. However, the interiors scene as a whole is becoming more colourful through the intensive use of colour schemes. Monochromaticity is also being increasingly abandoned in favour of patterns.

Decorative living
After clothing, living is today the number one means of expression. We are not only what we wear, but how we live. This makes every decorative element a statement. The basis for any eyecatcher is a space to make an impact. Tidy optics and decorative elements thus don't need to contradict one another. Lifestyle and the decorative are staged, on the wall elements, in the textiles, on the floor … or also behind (illuminated) glass. Each element and each item of furniture is simultaneously a decorative element. Which is why single products are preferred over homogeneous interior design with the furniture of a collection. Lights adjust to any furnishing style and are increasingly used as an optical highlight of the space. Designer lights are now what the folding table on rollers was in the 1970s.
     
Both mirrors and pictures are readily used as design elements: the classic here is the circular mirror in all versions; here the mirrors are often used graphically (thus pronouncedly two dimensionally) and bring depth to the room. As cement or Metro tiles, tiles transform from tepid floor coverings to the cool highlight at the kitchen bar, in special sections of the wall or in the entrance area. On the walls, it is wallpaper with small and large-format patterns that turn a room into a veritable work of art. On the floor, rugs with geometrical patterns, floral elements or graphic fancies provide accents, here too as a single product again. Oval shapes are especially pronounced, and, among furniture items, the sideboard is by far the most decorative: not only as a presentation surface, but also as a type.