Every season we look forward to finding out who has been selected as High Point Market’s Style Spotters. A charming mixed bag of designers and tastemakers, the Style Spotters set the tone for Market, selecting their top picks for on trend pieces. Gary Inman and Shay Geyer have been Style Spotters in their own right but this time they’re coming back as advisors. With the two award winning designers at the helm – Gary has many impressive hospitality and commercial projects under his belt, and Shay has had her work featured in many top publications – we know that their point of view on what new trends and pieces are hitting the Market this spring matters.

What is your role as a Style Spotter Advisor?

Gary: My role is to draw upon my own success as a Style Spotter in 2014 and my subsequent role as an industry spokesperson and design influencer to encourage, advise, and support our brilliant new team. I take this responsibility very seriously as I know the Style Spotter program has had a positive impact, not just at High Point Market, but throughout the industry.

Shay: As an advisor,I am there to offer support and advice, as well as to connect the Style Spotters team with manufacturers and vendors to help them discover new things at market.

What stands out about this Market’s group of Style Spotters? Have you had the chance to speak with them?

Gary: Yes, I’ve met the entire team and I’ve known Erinn and Shayla for years. I’m very impressed by the sophisticated social media presence of this team, their websites, their industry reputation, their media skills, and their ambition to excel in this very demanding role. I anticipate great things from them!

Shay: I have had the pleasure of meeting them all and I must say it is definitely a group loaded with talent and a discerning eye for style and design. Coincidentally, Shayla has been a long time friend. We met years ago through our hairdresser and I’m also honored to be featured in two chapters of her new book Four Seasons of Entertaining.  I have done show houses with Kara Cox and Cynthia Ferguson and absolutely love their style!  I had the pleasure of shooting some video with Benjamin Johnston last market. 

Shayla Copas and Cynthia Ferguson have highlighted saturated colors and glam materials in their selection of new product hitting High Point Market this spring. Do you also see that as a trend that speaks to you?

Gary: Dramatic colors and glamorous surfaces are a part of “experiential design” which is a major movement in boutique hotels, destination resorts, spas, and restaurants. Our team at Baskervill, a hospitality giant, is working on lifestyle hotels in four countries and 44 states, and this is a powerful global tread we’re hearing from all of our clients. Story-telling is the foundation while colors, patterns, finishes, and scale are the vocabulary used to elevate the story and create a memorable, and yes Instagram-able, experience for guests, whether it is a home or a hotel.

Shay: If you know me then you know I’m a big fan of color – and who doesn’t love a touch of glam?  It’s hard for me to call it “trendy” because I think that can sometimes turn people off. However, I’m totally on board with seeing so many options, ranges of color and beautiful details in the market that truly allow us to create bespoke interiors for our clients. 

Both Benjamin Johnston and Courtney McLoed had a chance to see what Fabricut is introducing this season. Do you feel like fabrics are a good way to anticipate the new direction in which home decor is going?

Gary: Fabric design is closely aligned with fashion design and is always on the leading edge of trends. We most often see new color stories and pattern languages emerge first in fashion closely followed by interior textiles, wallcoverings, and paints. This is true for both residential and hospitality design, which are increasingly inspiring each other.

Shay: Absolutely!  By the way, I’m super jealous that Benjamin and Courtney got such a fun sneak peek – but that’s what it’s all about – staying ahead of the curve and on point in your design game. It’s important for designers to always be seeking the newest products, innovations and designs in our industry and the textile market moves quickly so trends usually show up there first. 

One thing that makes High Point Market special is the opportunity to see so many beautiful pieces that have been made in factories near by. Laura Thurman and Kara Cox were able to see that first hand. Do you think that American-made products will be increasingly popular?

Gary: Yes, there is a tremendous interest in the work on local artisans and manufacturers. The celebration of Maker Culture and the desire to embrace Green Design Principals by resourcing locally is a powerful combination.

Shay: Absolutely. There is a sense of pride with owning a handmade piece of furniture that was made right here in the US and it makes it something you want to pass down for generations. I love how many upholstery manufacturers have each person who works on the piece sign the tag so the client sees just how many people it took to hand make that sofa or chair. It’s a level of craftsmanship and personalization that you just don’t see with mass-manufactured cookie-cutter items. 

We love both Eric Haydel and Erinn Valencich’ picks – each have chosen pieces that exude elegance. But the term “elegance” changes with the times. What sort of characteristics makes products feel elegant today? 

Gary: As Coco Chanel asserted, “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.”  Elegance is relaxed and graceful because all the design elements are in perfect balance.

Shay:   Elegance is simplicity at its finest and more about how the room speaks to you and makes you feel when you’re in it. It lures you in to relax and enjoy rather than scream, “Look at me!” To me, Giorgio Armani said it best, “Elegance is not about being noticed, it’s about being remembered.”  

Lastly, are there any particular showrooms or products that you are looking forward to seeing in person during this spring’s High Point Market? 

Gary: I always look forward to spending time at Currey & Company. I use their lighting and furniture extensively in my design of luxury hotels and homes. This Market I’ll be leading a Style Spotter Hospitality Tour that will conclude in the Currey & Company showroom and I’m also moderating a panel, “The Art of Collecting” in their showroom, Saturday, April 6 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Their showroom is always my Market home! This Market I’m also excited to see the new Ryan Korban collection at EJ Victor.

Shay:  It’s so hard to choose a favorite!  I’m very excited to see Ray Booth’s new collection at Hickory Chair and Alexa Hampton’s new collection at Theodore Alexander. Other showrooms that I always love are Wesley Hall, Lillian August for Hickory White, Century Furniture, Highland House, Vanguard – it’s so hard to choose a favorite. 

Both Shay and Gary will be giving a tour during this spring’s High Point Market. You can join Shay on Tuesday, April 9th and Gary on Sunday, April 7th – don’t miss out, sign up!