The chevron (or zigzag) pattern is one of the trendiest patterns in recent years. With the explosion of blogs and growth of Pinterest we started seeing chevron patterns everywhere… on pillows, curtains, and walls.
If you’re not a chevron fan, you probably think this post should have been titled “Is the Chevron Trend Over YET”?
If you like the zigzag pattern, you’re probably worried it’s overdone. Wondering is it too trendy to use now? Asking if chevron will go out of style?
That’s like asking if stripes or polkadots will go out of style. The classics never go out of style.
Stripes, polkadots, and chevrons will always be popular patterns. They serve a very necessary purpose in mixing patterns. These predictable patterns are the perfect counterpoint to the free-flowing organic patterns, like florals, ikats, and damasks.
Chevron Past, Present, and Future
The chevron existed centuries before the current craze as a military emblem and before that in heraldry. (Nerd alert: The Chevron in heraldry signifies home, based on the French word chevron meaning rafter. I know because I included a chevron shape in the School of Decorating shield.) The very similar herringbone pattern has been a mainstay in woven fabric and tile designs for hundreds of years.
The chevron symbol in zigzag formation was primed to become popular. It’s a classic ripe for the re-interpreting time and time again.
Chevron and zigzag patterns were popular decades ago in smaller scale and multi-color designs. Missoni anyone? I know you’re familiar with their collection at Target a few years ago, but their zigzag motif first appeared in the 1950’s!
In the last few years chevron became popular on everything from medium-scale fabric prints to over-scale wall designs. Along with the bold scale, there is a graphic nature inherent in the current chevron trend of a bold color contrasted on a white or cream background.
Now we are starting to see the chevron trend shift. Instead of the stark bold colored zigzag on a white or cream ground, we are starting to see less predictable versions of the classic up and down design. Irratic peaks and valleys. Irregular spacing. Chevron merged with ikat-style sketchy lines. Tone on tone chevrons. Barely there chevrons of the herringbone style.
I don’t think this “trend” is going anywhere. The classic chevron will always have a place in patterns past, present, and future. How the symbol is applied and interpreted will vary over time.
Trendy or Timeless?
I frequently get asked how you know if something is going to go out of style or will stick around for while. Is it trendy or timeless?
It’s the wrong question.
The only question you should be asking yourself is…
Is this trendy or timeless for me?
I fancy a bold chevron pattern around my home and after years have yet to tire of it.
Consider how you felt about the pattern 10 years ago. It’s a good indicator of how you might feel about it 10 years from now. I have always disliked small, multi-color zigzag patterns. So when the Missoni collection popped up at Target I wasn’t even tempted for a moment. I didn’t like it years ago, don’t like it now, and probably won’t years from now. It’s one trend I passed on.
Big-scale chevrons are another story for me. I love the bold contrast of a good zigzag. I’ve always liked bold graphic patterns, I still like them now, and always will. For me they are timeless.
For more on fabric patterns, check out my class How to Mix and Match Fabric Patterns.
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