Put a Funky Stripe On It

Put a Funky Stripe On It

Chevron has been surging in popuarity for years now, with little sign of waning. A chevron pattern is a repeating V-shaped stripe that can be found in all forms of design, from cushions to runway dresses to wallpaper.

A chevron stripe is a spin on the basic zigzag pattern, taking the classic chevron shape (think of the blue and red double-V Chevron Corp. logo) and elongating it into a multi-purpose design tool. Singular chevrons have been seen on badges and insignias, but the repetition makes it a pattern.

“It’s similar to the square and rectangle discussion: a square is always a rectangle, but a rectangle is not always a square,” says Lisa Langenhop, owner and lead creative at Lisa Langenhop Designs. “In the same vein, chevron is always a zigzag, but a zigzag is not always a chevron.”

The versatility of the chevron stripe, and the distinction from traditional zigzag patterns, is most likely responsible for its recent popularity.

“There’s an element of tradition, but it’s still bold, geometric and simplistic,” Langenhop says. “Chevron brings rhythm and color into your home space without being overwhelming. It’s cool and friendly but fairly tame.”

Langenhop advises incorporating it into a room in small pops instead of big doses.

“Using it in a throw pillow or a tray is a perfect bit of visual interest in almost any style of décor,” she says.

In turn, designers like chevron for the opportunity it creates to experiment with the traditional zigzag element.

“It’s a classic plain stripe, but just a notch higher on the fun scale,” says Carolyn Misterek, Washington, D.C., a designer whose company MATINE, specializes in hand-crafted leather goods.

Langenhop traces the trend’s roots to high fashion, where it rose in popularity alongside tribal patterns.

“Because chevron has some of the deliciously bold flavors of tribal but none of the wildness, it quickly transitioned into décor for the masses,” she says.

Nowadays, chevron is found at all levels of retail, but traces of it can be found in vintage products, too, like antique rugs and retro lamp shades. The popularity of vintage design is a venue for the stripe, although it isn’t categorized by one particular era.

“There are definitely color palettes that will create a retro feel, but for the most part, using these stripes feels very now,” Misterek says. “Although the beauty of the stripe is that it can also work within vintage style beautifully.”

The pattern has been around for centuries, according to Langenhop, but its boldness and alternative take on a classic zigzag “makes it a perfect fit for today’s sentiments.”

Just be aware - it’s possible to love the uniqueness of chevron stripes a little too much.

“I have to limit myself,” admits Misterek. “I’m so drawn to the pattern that if I’m not careful, my apartment would end up covered in stripes.”


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