In our ever-evolving new normal, what could be better than a chance to revel in autumn’s charms at High Point Market in October? With a spotlight on sustainability, a calendar chockablock with lively events, a rich array of vendors to discover, plus trend-hunting tours and an opening night concert, this show is just the ticket. “Digital has been a lifesaver these past 18 months, but nothing can replace that in-person experience,” says Ashley Grigg, director of marketing and communications for High Point. During this time of supply chain disruptions, she adds, it’s equally important to “be able to see, touch and get in front of product.”

Sustainability Stories take Center Stage at this season’s Market, with inspiring, experiential exhibitions and eco-seminars that emphasize the urgency of—and opportunities in—embracing earth-friendly practices. To bring the concept to life, designers Laurence Carr, Nancy Fire and Jennifer Levy have each curated elegant, environmentally positive vignettes that incorporate sustainable items sourced from Market exhibitors. A separate display showcases furnishings made from repurposed plastic fibers.

Panel discussions—featuring such notable guests as Susan Inglis from the Sustainable Furnishings Council and Hilary Farr of HGTV’s Love It or List It—will cover topics like transitioning from the wasteful “make-take-toss” mindset to more circular design choices; creating living-wage jobs in the new realm of foam recycling; and saving forests while holistically manufacturing wood furniture. “Sustainability is at the forefront of the industry, so we want to acknowledge those who already prioritize it and bring in an education component to help move it forward,” says Grigg. As more consumers consider the environmental impact of the items they purchase, designers must be prepared to meet that challenge.

To further elevate the conversation, the keynote speakers this fall are innovative entrepreneurs with a range of experiences to address various aspects of the moment authoritatively. On Saturday, designer Breegan Jane will moderate a discussion with Colette Shelton, founder of Cococozy and Chirpyest, about standing out in a saturated field of social media influencers and building a business through smart collaborations and authentic partnerships. Sunday’s talk explores how to make a passion profitable, featuring supermodel Miranda Kerr, founder of global skin care brand Kora Organics and her namesake home line for Universal Furniture, in conversation with Tori Mellott, style director at Schumacher. Amazon Home general manager Eva Lorenz concludes the series on Monday, sharing data and insights about anticipating and exceeding the shifting needs of today’s consumers. (Attendees earn one CEU per seminar.)

Beyond compelling and substantive programming, of course, aesthetic trends remain at the heart of High Point Market. And because even the most meticulously scheduled visitor couldn’t manage to single-handedly see everything, this season’s eight Style Spotters—including luminaries like Sara Malek Barney, Keia McSwain and Justin Shaulis—will be dishing about every last detail on Tuesday morning. In addition to scouting out the best new products, they’ll reveal the behind-the-scenes origin stories of where those items come from, how they get made, and where to find the must-see showrooms that are putting them on display. “It’s like having a whole team out there sourcing the event for you,” says Grigg of the popular Style Spotters Live! panel. An added bonus this year: Hot Spot Tours guided by the influencers themselves, who will showcase their favorite Market showrooms.

More than ever, Fall Market will offer an abundance of product launches and parties to celebrate the triumphs of the interiors business despite the challenges of the pandemic. For the first time in its history, High Point will kick off on Friday night with a concert: indie pop act Fitz and The Tantrums at High Point’s baseball stadium, Truist Point. Members of the local community can attend for free, and Market-goers will have special access front and center on the field.

If you’re trying to figure out how best to navigate Market, Grigg suggests scheduling your visit around the best eats. “Nobody wants to shop Market hangry!” she jokes, recommending the food and beverage page on the updated website, which highlights not only the various on-site cafes and food trucks but also the top restaurants in High Point, Winston-Salem and Greensboro. “It’s so easy to tap that little star and add events to your customized calendar” in the app or desktop versions, she says, encouraging attendees to create a well-rounded digital itinerary.

Considering the pandemic, High Point continues to take health precautions and will monitor the situation closely in consultation with local authorities. “We’ve already successfully executed two Markets in the midst of this, so we feel confident in our ability to do so again this fall,” says Grigg. Face coverings will be required for indoor areas and transportation, per a county-wide mandate: “A small ask so we can celebrate together in person!”

This story is a paid promotion and was created in partnership with the High Point Market Authority.

Homepage photo: High Point Market’s Center Stage programming unfolds on the esplanade in front of Showplace. | Courtesy of the High Point Market Authority

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