Trends and Factors in Automotive Upholstery Design, 1960-2020

By Jenna Marie Eason.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The automotive industry has played a vital role in the United States’ development since the early twentieth century and is the driving force of American manufacturing and globalization. Contributing to the success of vehicle brands has been the development of an industry whose sole purpose has been to supply interior fabrics that meet the performance and aesthetic properties necessary for the automotive industry. Unfortunately, in the most recent years, automotive sales have experienced a drastic decrease due in large part to uncontrollable global factors, and the suppliers have been hit the hardest. While many factors have played a role in this vicious turn of events, few were predictable or controllable. This study aims to understand the trend cycles that occurred in automotive upholstery design over the past 60 years in order to understand the factors that contributed to the fabric’s success. This has been done by analyzing the available swatches of US automotive fabrics found in the “De Leo” and “Detroit Automotive Trim” books from 1960-2006. Each swatch was be categorized by Motif and Scale. This research results in a historical catalogue of recent trends in automotive interior upholstery, which can be used as a reference tool for the industry. By having a better understanding of the design elements incorporated in automotive fabrics, future designers can learn from previous trends and will have an instrument to use as a catalyst for future developments. Understanding what factors have influenced past trends in automotive interior textiles will redefine the limits and increase the success rate for future automotive fabric development.

Keywords: Automotive, Textile, Design, Automotive Upholstery, Automotive Interiors, Automotive Trim, Automotive Textile Design, Body Cloth, Trends, Engineering, Industrial Design, Textile Design, Automotive Design, Color, Color and Trim

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.25-36. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.435MB).

Jenna Marie Eason

Research Assistant, Textile Apparel, Technology, and Management, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Jenna is a 2007 graduate from North Carolina State University’s Anni Albers Program, receiving two degrees: BS in Textile Technology and BA in Art and Design. In January 2008, Jenna began graduate studies at the NCSU College of Textiles in the Textile Technology and Management (TTM) master’s degree program. Her focus is in Automotive Textile Design, conducting research with Professor Nancy Powell. To support her studies, Jenna spent the summer of 2008 at Nagoya University in Japan taking a course in Advanced Technology and Tasks in Automotive Engineering and participating in global lectures and company visits hosted by Japan’s top automotive companies. Jenna is truly a global scholar, having also studied textile design and engineering in Southern Europe and Ghana, West Africa. She has a vested interest in the automotive and textile industries and believes that learning from the past and the international environment are key to a successful future.


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