CHA-Summer Prediction: The 1930’s Are Recession-Chic!

The past several design cycles in the scrapbook-industry have been heavily 1970’s-inspired at a lot of companies. In case you are annoyingly young enough to not remember the 1970’s first-hand, I’ll elaborate: rainbow colors, woodland animal icons, and disco-inspired prints.

The natural progression of the design cycle should have been to move into the 1980’s next. That had already happened in fashion (legwarmers at Target? shudder!) and the next stop should have been for it to filter into scrapbooking. Except for one thing: we sunk into a massive recession, even depression in some areas, and the 1980’s were all about material excess. The style is just no longer appropriate for the general mood.

Instead, it seems we are transitioning into the 1930’s. We were already seeing some of that style making an appearance in scrapbook stores in previous cycles, most notably in the form of Jenni Bowlin Studio. 1930’s vintage chic is very much her signature style, so she was ahead of the curve on this trend and the excitement about her Farmer’s Wife collection (shown below) at CHA-Winter 2009 reflected that.


There are two probable incarnations of the 1930’s style in scrapbooking. Several recently released or previewed collections for summer illustrate the two variations very clearly.

The first version of 1930’s chic is elegant florals and antique household papers (such as newspapers, books, maps, sheet music, or sewing patterns). This version brings to mind immediately my late maternal grandmother’s house in the upper peninsula of Michigan. A woman who married and set up her first home in the 1930’s, my grandmother retained for the rest of her life 1930’s style touches in her home. It is visible in a recent Pottery Barn Kids collection called French Rose. I can almost smell my grandmother’s house looking at the design:

Pottery Barn Kids vintage example

The new “Vintage Findings” collection from Making Memories, released in June to Michael’s,  illustrates this soft floral vintage style perfectly:

Making Memories Vintage Findings PapersMaking Memories Vintage Findings

This style is all about found objects – vintage memorabilia like tickets and stamps, and household items like hairpins, metal findings and ribbon. While it has been around somewhat at several companies that specialize in creating this style, this summer we will see it become mainstream as major mass market companies adopt it. “Soft” and “calming” is the overall effect.

The second interpretation of 1930’s style is cleaner, more graphic – and more country. “Crisp” and “refreshing” is more the effect of this design ethic. Think red gingham and vintage canning labels. Colors are more primary in tone, although there is still a faded aspect to some of them (except the red – the common thread between these two interpretations of 1930’s is the use of bright reds). Designs are less free-form, with more rigid graphic elements such as stripes and checks being dominant.

The new line from Shabby Green Door, a new division of Daisy Bucket Designs, illustrates beautifully this interpretation of 1930’s country retro chic. Kristi Fitzgerald’s Farmer’s Market line includes all the elements of country 1930’s style, as seen below in the pattern papers and some of the collection’s acrylic stamps.

Farmers MarketFarmers Market stamps

So what does the 1930’s style trend translate to, in general, for the scrapbook industry? I think we will see:

  • Red
  • Muted Yellows
  • Classic “typeset”-style fonts
  • Distressing
  • Sage, sky blue, kraft brown, and pale pink
  • “Found” items

As I mentioned above, some scrapbooking companies were already going in this direction style-wise but at this show we should see this style go mass-market.

Obviously, there are some companies whose signature style is so far away from this style that they will stick to what they do best. But for companies who are flexible in their style or who often do very feminine or vintage styles, I predict that what will be hot (besides the weather) at CHA-Summer 2009 will be 1930’s vintage chic.

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