There’s a common thread that connects the trends we see at trade shows, retail floors, and homes across the world. It’s a woman by the name of Patti Carpenter.
Carpenter, a mainstay at industry favorites like Las Vegas Market, AmericasMart, and Maison & Objet, plays a significant role in shaping the styles that define interior and product design. Whether she’s designing, consulting, or connecting artisans with the mainstream consumer marketplace, Patti uses her extensive expertise to make the industry a more colorful place.
Where does Patti get her knowledge about what’s new and what’s next? It’s a question the entire House Tipster team was eager to find out.
Here’s what we learned through our special interview with our favorite design influencer, Patti Carpenter.
Designing and Influencing Since Childhood
“Growing up, I was always an artist; always a creative,” said Carpenter.
She took this creativity seriously from the start by majoring in art as early as junior high and attending Workshops for Careers in the Arts, an after-school program that served as the precursor to the Duke Ellington School for the Arts.
Although the term “starving artist” never settled well, Patti knew all along she’d work in the realm of art and design. In the process of working on the set and costume design at the Lincoln Center, Carpenter met up with a friend studying at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), caught the “fashion bug,” and never looked back.
After earning two degrees from FIT, Carpenter was ready to jump headfirst into fashion.
Headfirst Into the World of Fashion
For 27 years, Carpenter served as a Designer, Design Director, and VP of Fashion Design and Merchandising on 7th Ave in New York City for companies including Adrienne Vittadini, Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren, The Limited Corporation, and Timberland.
Her first fashion job was with SCOTT Barrie, where she learned about design, draping, pattern making, and fitting, and designed for the likes of Diana Ross, Ashford and Simpson, and more. It was fun, informative, and there was never a dull moment.
“I once dyed my own bathtub a wonderful shade of teal creating Nick Asdord’s costume to be a few shades darker than Val’s. It stayed that way for weeks!” notes Carpenter.
Lighting a Fire
The fashion industry gave Carpenter a unique perspective. Not only did she learn everything she could about tailoring, manufacturing, merchandising, sales, and production, she was also able to travel extensively.
“I traveled the world,” explained Carpenter, “which lit that fire for travel in me. I shopped markets, developed fabrics, set up factories, learned about retail worldwide, and managed businesses. It gave me the background I needed when I began my own company.”
Today, Carpenter wears many different hats, including a Global Trend Ambassador, business owner, and industry influencer.
For the past four years, Patti has served as the Global Trend Ambassador for the Americas at Maison & Objet, one of Europe’s most significant and well-attended design expos. Curating the vendors, organizing the vast space, and pinpointing the “next big thing” are just a few of her many responsibilities with this show. Patti also works closely with AmericasMart in Atlanta as their Global Design Trend Specialist.
Through her work with her own company, Carpenter + Co, Patti shares her expertise with private companies looking to stay ahead of the design curve. Her client list is robust and includes Bloomingdales, ABC Carpet and Home, Neiman Marcus, The Museum of Art & Design, Sferra, Dean & Deluca, and Donna Karan’s Urban Zen.
As if that wasn’t enough, Patti also helps connect artisans from countries around the world such as Guatemala and Bolivia to US-based retailers through Aid for Artisans. “Traditional craft + natural materials + fresh design equals a unique collection of beautiful objects with heart,” she notes
Carpenter is the first to say that her days are full but varied enough to keep her creative juices flowing. Aside from traveling, she has plans to continue covering international trade shows and creating industry presentations.
“Some days find me sitting in the Bush in South Africa with Ndebele women, creating and collaborating on new products that will have a broader global appeal and showcase their amazing talents to the world at large. This will give them a sustainable income and keep their long, proud history and culture alive. Other days find me presenting to industry trade show organizations at markets or conferences,” said Carpenter.
She also plans to continue leisure traveling with her partner of 20 years, who just so happens to be a designer as well. They love to eat, try new places, and keep abreast of what’s going on in the industry at home and abroad.
To say that Patti is a wealth of knowledge would be an understatement. She’s an influencer, a design genius, and a wonderful person to be around; we’re so happy to call her a close friend of House Tipster.
Check out the full video coverage from our special 2018 Summer LVMKT interview with Patti below: