Enchanted, the Kona Cotton Color of the Year
Photo courtesy of Robert Kaufman Fabrics
Trends represent more than passing fads. Trend forecasting analyzes how changes in technology and culture will consumers’ buying decisions. Studying craft industry trends for 2020 can help you make informed choices for your business and improve your product offerings. Let’s explore where our industry is headed, and dive into the trends that are shaping the craft industry this year.
Color Trends for 2020
When it comes to color trend forecasting, Pantone is a household name. Their pick for 2020: Classic Blue. Pantone calls the color, “A timeless and enduring blue hue… suggestive of the sky at dusk…Imprinted in our psyches as a restful color.”
Pantone is hardly the only player in color forecasting these days. Paint manufacturers PPG, Sherwin Williams, Behr, and Benjamin Moore all made predictions for 2020 (Chinese Porcelain, Naval, Back to Nature, and First Light, respectively). Trend forecaster WGSN’s key color trends for 2020 include Neo Mint, and is predicting the popularity of their color A.I. Aqua in 2021.
Fabric manufacturer Robert Kaufman has announced that their “spellbinding green” fabric called Enchanted is their Kona Color of the Year.
Etsy predicts that Chartreuse will be popular this year, “showing up everywhere from home goods to wardrobes.” Etsy cites a 12% increase in searches for green items and a 55% increase in searches for neon green items on the site in the last three months.
Stained glass is set to become the trendiest craft of 2020. Etsy’s resident trend spotter Dayna Isom Johnson has seen a 127% increase in searches for stained glass tools and supplies on Etsy.
Digital and machine crafting is another trend to watch this year. JOANN added 3d printers to their shelves in 2019 and continues to offer digital cutting machines and Glowforge laser cutting machines to makers at their Creators’ Studio concept store.
A fresh take on embroidery is poised to take center stage in 2020. Several new books on the artform debut early in the year: Embroidery Now by Jennifer Cardenas Riggs, Embroidered Wild Flowers by Kazuko Aoki, and The Modern Embroidery Studio by Lauren Holton. Morgan Spenla, founder of The Crafter’s Box confirms the rise of needlecraft in 2020. “Cross stitching, latch hooking and sashiko are definitely on the rise. The ease of learning these crafts (each are methodical and so relaxing) plus easy access to materials make them wonderful techniques to explore.” Spenla said.
The popularity of paper flowers has blossomed and will continue to grow this year. Artful workshops and books on paper florals have pushed the craft into the limelight, including Lucia Balcazar’s Build a Flower, which will come out in 2020.
Craft companies have opportunities to capitalize on the wellness trend in 2020. According to Facebook IQ’s 2020 trends report, “Baths are moving back into the American mainstream as people embrace different forms of self-care.” Look for growth around natural baths salts, handmade bath bombs, and custom soaps and fragrances.
Oversized motifs are everywhere, appearing on printed tote bags, quilt patterns, wall hangings, and more. This trend dovetails nicely with color blocking, one of Etsy’s major craft trends for 2020. Look for color blocking in the world of handmade fashion — a perfect fit for patchwork quilted coats.
In 2020, consumers (especially Gen Z) are reconsidering consumerism. Crafters are gravitating towards more conscientious choices for their projects and materials.
Mending will continue to dominate as one of 2020’s biggest craft trends. Expect to see a wider conversation around the impact of textile waste on the environment. Look for Zero Waste Sewing by Elizabeth M Haywood, debuting in 2020.
Natural Dyes for yarns and fabric will continue to increase in popularity. Consumers are decreasing emphasis on sameness and uniformity, and crafters are ready to integrate their values around sustainability in fashion to their garment sewing projects.
Searches for thrift store crafts on Pinterest have increased by 2276% in the last year. In 2020 the craft industry will experience a renewed interest in crafting with secondhand materials, and creative approaches to reselling destash yarns.
“Consumers are no longer buying green marketing messages from big businesses that call for consumers to personally make changes,” says research firm Gartner. Their advice to business owners? “Tread carefully around green messaging and products to avoid charges of hypocrisy.” Look for ways to make your business eco-friendly, like switching to recycled packaging or shipping materials.
Contactless payment processing is growing in popularity
Photo courtesy of Square
Wider Cultural Trends
The maker community is growing in 2020. “Tactile activities are moving into the mainstream as more people discover the value—and fun—in getting their hands dirty,” reports Facebook IQ. Twitter’s analysis cites 462% more conversations about making and creating since 2016, showing growth potential for the craft industry.
While the number of Americans using social media is mostly unchanged since 2018, Google searches for the term digital detox have been on the rise since 2008. In fact, the number of search queries spiked in January 2013 and January 2017. This may correlate with social media and news exhaustion after the last two US presidential elections.
With the 2020 election picking up steam in the US, expect to see an increase in conversation around digital wellness and digital minimalism. Instagram removing likes, as it’s likely to do in the US this year, is just the tip of the iceberg of social media addiction and burnout.
Craft can be part of that conversation, marketed as a mindful way to relax and step away from screens. Pinterest reports a 444% increase in searches for art therapy activities over the last year. Recently published Slow Tech by Peter Ginn offers traditional craft project as an antidote to digital overwhelm.
Trend forecasters predict our continued progression towards a cashless society. With 441 million people now using Apple Pay, more ecommerce and brick and mortar retailers will begin accepting contactless payments at checkout.
More companies are shifting to gender-neutral language in 2020, avoiding gendered labels and colors for their products. Searches on Pinterest for gender-neutral nurseries are up 527%, and up 119% for unisex gender-neutral kids clothes. This could have implications for SEO for craft businesses, as parents search for items on Etsy.
Finally, inclusive design was named a top trend by researchers at Garner. “Originating as an approach to design for people with disabilities, inclusive design will expand to accommodate cultural sensitivities and behavior patterns,” Garner predicts in their trend report. Craft pros can stay ahead of the curve by reviewing how their products and services can accommodate all potential customers.
Stay ahead of the curve
Want to do more trend research on your own? Craft Industry Alliance members can dive into the future by exploring our trend forecasting resource guide!
Erin is the textile designer and artist behind the home décor company, Cotton & Flax. She licenses her surface designs for fabric, home décor, stationery, and other clients. She’s also a teacher, writer, and enthusiastic advocate for small creative business owners. She lives in San Diego, California.