There’s a growing subculture among auto enthusiasts that could affect the types of materials your trim shop carries. Folks, who have expensive taste, are incorporating high-end designer fabrics in the their vehicles’ interiors. Inspired by the look and feel of designer-brand handbags, these people are asking auto trim shops to upholster their cars in Gucci, Fendi, Burberry and Louis Vuitton.
It’s not just the prissy Paris Hilton type or Pimp My Ride sort of gangsters who are doing it. Working-class people who love their cars and want to make a bold statement are also getting in on the action. Even automakers are cashing in on the trend.
Of course, there are plenty of folks within that spectrum who are doing it wrong. But for those who do it right, it’s a form of art.
Bloomberg, which recently published an article about Luis Gispert – a NYC photographer who has been travelling around the country taking pictures of these cars, writes:
For two years Gispert traveled around the U.S. in search of these people whose sense of automotive bling was less “Pimp My Ride” than “Primp My Ride.” They borrowed from the designs of luxury brands such as Vuitton, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana.
In Detroit, Houston and Los Angeles, he climbed into the backseat and captured the logo-heavy interiors with a large- format camera. Some car owners wore hand-made clothes or accessories to match their autos, so Gispert shot them as well.
“They had a level of obsession with their projects that I could recognize,” said Gispert. “Artists feel the same way in their studios as these people do in their garages.” […]
“All these brands represent high style, high fashion,” said Gispert, examining. “It becomes a class thing.”
“They are not concerned with reading Vogue, following the runways or even copying what’s in stores,’ said Gispert. “It’s a fantasy they want to create.” [more]
Whether you think it looks hip or tacky, it’s smart business to keep abreast of the latest industry trends. If a customer walks into your shop and wants his/her car to look like the inside of a Fendi purse, you’ll need to have swatches available and know where to order the fabric from.
Your best bet is to contact a trusted supplier and inquire about designer brand fabrics. Keep in mind, though, they are pretty expensive. You can shop online for cheaper prices, but be careful not to buy a knock off. You can get in a lot of trouble for buying or selling imitations.
A couple years ago I had some inquiries about designer interiors. When DONKs Box and Bubbles was in production, people saw what was coming from the left coast and decided they had to have it. Then these customers started hearing the prices for the “real” deal. The only alternative is faux or “designer” cloth imitations. Problem therein (illegality be damned): you find a supplier, possibly even get them to send some samples, and you wait for the next inquiry. The inquiry comes (maybe even within a couple weeks), and that supplier is nowhere to be found. In reality, the “supplier” is someone who got a few rolls of designer cloth and set up shop in their living room. Or they are just a broker for an overseas clearinghouse that may or may not deliver. ALTERNATIVE: Forget catering to the magazine trends and having to splash names all over the interior. Rather, show the customer how individualized and custom you can make an interior using high-grade leather, animal skin, or a good looking print fabric. Blow away the flash-in-the-pan cars with good quality.
I agree. Custom interiors made with high-grade leather or vinyl definitely blow away these fad cars – especially when done right.
Real or fake, I can’t imagine that these designer fabrics last long. They’re made to line the inside of purses, not have people sit on them. They’re bound to tear, and so the customers will ultimately return.
Plus, as you pointed out, the fabrics are expensive.
So, ultimately, from a financial perspective the auto trimmer wins.
To maintain credibility, though, I think trimmers should make these negatives known to customers before agreeing to do such jobs. If the customer still wants it done… hey, it’s his money.
Sueann Blackwell says
just a note – doing ANY Interior in those designer fabrics (which are not from the designers but from knock offs) is illegal. Trust me we had Customs, ATF, DEA , Homeland Security wanting to take me away for ordering “Designer Fabrics” no designer allows their fabric to be make for anyone to use. So those cloth imitations could land you in jail- So all those interiors you see in the magazines are illegal and probably got a letter for copyright infringement. Even though we were ordering from a repeatable distributor they can still come down on us and impound the customers car.
Anthony Jermaine Williams says
Good morning my name is Anthony and wanted to ask like how much Gucci interior would I need to do a 93 GMC single cab Sierra c 1500
Where can I get Louis Vuitton fabric for my benz
alejandro celedon says
do you sell the burberry automotive upholstery ?
Patrick Berry says
I’m looking for gucci material