IDSwest Interview with Arren Williams

We caught up with Arren Williams, Creative Director, Home Fashions for The Hudson Bay this week via email for a little chat about his upcoming talk this weekend at IDSwest. Arren (for those of you who may not know) prior to his position at The Hudson Bay worked as a stylist, designer and also as a trend reporter for various print publications such as the National Post, House & Home and elsewhere. He's also been a guest expert on Citytv's CityLine, and occasionally on HGTV. Here's our mini interview.

Q.  Tell us a bit about you and your exciting job as Creative Director, Home Fashions at The Hudson's Bay Co.

A.  I work with an incredible crew of people, from buyers to product developers to the creative teams that produce the great Home books that come out twice a year. I also travel frequently across North America and Europe, visiting trade shows and checking out other retailers, both large and small. On top of that, I provide fashion direction for home four times a year, spring/summer, fall/winter, patio and holiday. In fact, I’m just about to start working on direction for spring/summer 2015!

Q.  I'm really looking forward to your presentation at the IDSwest next week. Because you'll be talking about the science of style and the creation of trends, what new trend are you excited about coming up for homes this season?

A.  The strongest trend that I’m very excited about is the huge rise of blue and white. We’re seeing it across the board, from tabletop to bedding, and from traditional to more contemporary styles. I really think people are seeing blue as a neutral now, which is a huge step forward.

Denby Malmo  | Distinctly Home Bloom Indigo Bed

Q. What is your first indication when you sense a trend surfacing?

A.  I do hate it to sound like magic, but it’s a feeling you get from seeing so much, all of the time. I’m a very visual person (luckily!), so I literally catalog almost everything I see, and then threads emerge…

Q.  I love your home featured in H&H a bit back. How do you keep things fresh and updated? Any tricks of the trade you'd like to share? Anything new you’ve added since?

A.  Thanks! We really love our home, and have just about finished the back garden, which was the last piece of the puzzle – you might see it featured sometime. For the interior easy updates include new pillows (on a relatively frequent basis, because of our whippet Spot), and new art for the art wall in the stairwell. I just picked up a fantastic print in the UK which will be a great addition. It’s fluorescent green with sign writing that says ‘We Even Buy Gold Teeth’ from British artist Anna Lomax.

Anna Lomax

Q.   I love the collaborations with Canadian artists that The Hudson's Bay Company has been doing since you've climbed on board. Are there any new ones in the works you can share?

A.  Glad you love the collabs. The latest limited edition tea towels we launched, from Eva Juliet and Fiona Richards of Cartolina, are it for this year. We have some great projects on the go for next year, and I have a list of Canadian talent that I’d like to work with in the future.

Q. I noticed you were just at the Maison & Objet in Paris - anything exciting to share?

A.  We’re looking at launching two fantastic bedding lines we saw at the show. I can’t reveal anything yet, but one is modern and quite Scandi in style, while the other one has a gorgeously colourful and hand-painted perspective…

Bocci's surreal lighting installation at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London

Q. What surfaces are you loving right now for the home? (Tiles, flooring, fabrics)?

A. I’m a bit of a nut for fabric, so whenever we’re working on new upholstery collections, I spend a fair time with the buyer ooh-ing and ahh-ing over prints and patterns, discussing how best we can combine them.

Q. How fabulous is the new Converse Jack Purcell and Hudson's Bay collaboration? Will you be connecting the iconic multi-stripe blanket to any new item for the home in the near future?

A. I love the new striped Converse, and can’t wait to get my hands on a pair! In fact, we were just in London, and spotted them in one of Selfridges windows, which was very exciting. Doubly so for me, since I worked at Selfridges a million years ago, so it was a bit of a full circle moment. The Hudson’s Bay collection, and all the stripe collaborations, are actually all handled by a very talented team that works separately from Home. With the brilliant Hilary Kelley as the creative director at the helm of everything stripe related, we’re sure to see more exciting things soon…

The room of the season

Q. And finally, what is inspiring you as you look towards 2014?

A. Wow, that’s a difficult question! Can I say everything?!? From a dining perspective, I’m excited to see how people are not only embracing rustic farm-to-table food, and really relaxed entertaining, I’m also happy to see craft beer becoming such a juggernaut. Then for interiors, I’m intrigued how rustic and modern, and vintage and modern are constantly mixing in new ways.

Thank you so much Arren for sharing your inspiration and vision!  Can't wait to hear you talk at the show this weekend!  Check out his appearance info below.

Saturday Sept. 21

10:30 AM – What’s Inspiring Now?
Arren William, Creative Director – Home Fashions, The Hudson Bay – Toronto, ON
Join Arren Williams, the Creative Director of Home at Hudson’s Bay, as he takes you through the science of style and the creation of trends. From idea to reality, take a peek inside the creative process, and learn what’s inspiring him as he looks towards 2014.

IDSwest 2013 in the Vancouver Convention Centre West
September 19 to 22, 2013
Vancouver Convention Centre West
1055 Canada Place Vancouver, BC
Located at the foot of Burrard Street, North of Cordova

*IDSwest is a sponsor this month at Poppytalk

Jan Halvarson


Lady Grey said...

I loved reading this interview, Jan.
And that "room of the season" is seriously gorgeous!

Tara @ Suburble said...

Great interview! I'm looking forward to hearing Arren's talk!

martha brown said...

I loved the home furnishings flyer that Hudson's Bay put out last weekend! I ordered some chairs! Was so happy to see how forward it has become :)And now I understand why.