Modern Persists, But Softer Tones Gain Ground
New York - The Asheford Institute's fifteenth annual survey of top decorative arts buying trends from the past twelve months is now available digitally and in print nationwide. The international poll of students and alumni by the Institute serves as an essential guidepost for many in the industry, especially as it relates to the current state of today's decorative arts marketplace, and as a directional sales barometer for those working in the antique and vintage business.
The school's unique position of having unfettered and direct access to a substantial number of industry respondents has made the survey a staple for many in the decorative arts community.
(*Note: The link to the "complete survey listings" can be found at the end of this article)
Anthony Harper, the school's lead researcher, says the key to getting meaningful survey results that antique and vintage businesses can actually use to help plan their inventory and buying strategies for the upcoming year is based on receiving actual sales data, alongside item-specific requests from buyers, which can then be used to indicate interest within a particular collecting genre.
Harper says that while most other industries suffered from early supply-chain issues in 2023, it was actually a boon to many working in the decorative arts business, since supplies of used goods were already readily available. "People turned to antiques and vintage items when they couldn't source new," said Harper, "in large part because the items were right there in front of them and could be immediately taken home." This accessibility helped dramatically bolster sales of Victorian and Early American pieces according to many of the dealers involved in the survey. Although supply-chain-buys from those originally looking to purchase 'new' could have potentially affected the poll's stats, Harper says he's firmly convinced the numbers will hold. "Our survey has been showing a resurgence of interest related to brown furniture for a while now," he noted, "but this past year it really began to resonate in a much larger way with a variety of different buyers and collectors."
Fan favorites like Mid-Century Modern and Art Deco also continued to run strong with many of the dealers who participated in the poll, however, Amber Shole, who's been compiling school survey statistics for over twelve years now, says there were some newcomers to the scene as well. "The modern motif isn't over by a long-shot," said Shole, who admitted to witnessing a surprising comeback from a 'look' that many had relegated to the oddities-pile of the 1980s. "It's definitely not a trend I was expecting to see," she said, "but I've learnt over the years to never underestimate people's affinity for nostalgia." Shole went on to say that aside from the quirky 1980s style reboot, there was also another one from the 1950s which didn't involve MCM, but also made the list. "It's really interesting," she says, "just when you think you've seen everything from a particular period of time and collecting genre, something else pops up seemingly out of nowhere." All of which Shole says is why she thinks readers are likely to find a few unexpected surprises in this year's survey results."
As with previous trend samplings, Shole notes that it's primarily Millennials who are continuing to move the needle forward when it comes to buying and collecting. "You may still find Boomers at Sotheby's and Christie's," she says, "but everywhere else it's almost certainly going to be a younger crowd driving the creation of new collecting trends."
For those interested in reading the Institute's complete yearly survey listing of best-selling antique and vintage genre categories from 2023, including this year's winners, simply click on the link below...
Link To 2023 Survey/Poll:
**TOP SELLING ANTIQUE & VINTAGE CATEGORIES FOR 2023**
NOTE: For readers seeking more information about the Asheford Institute Of Antiques distance-learning program on professional-level appraising, the study of antiques, collectibles, vintage and mid-century modern items, please click here to visit the school's Home Page.
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