Detroit — Move over, Michael Kors. Southfield-based Lear Corp. is the latest name in fashion.
The automotive seat supplier on Thursday showed off new car seat designs with all the glamour of a New York fashion show. Models wearing the same fabrics which could be used in seats paraded across a stage and posed for cameras as techno music thumped in the background.
“We believe that automotive design is one of art and passion,” said Matt Simoncini, Lear’s president and CEO. “More and more, we’re seeing innovative designs. Usually the fashion leads are the Italians, like Fiat and Ferrari. But now, even the entry-level vehicles are looking for ways to differentiate their products.”
Lear executives said seats are becoming more stylish and leather is surging in popularity as an option across the globe. Many concepts unveiled Thursday at the Fillmore Theater to industry officials and media included leather straps, accents and other features.
One, called “Rebel Shred,” focused on the strategic placement of prints, laser etching, flashy silver-colored leather and even straps on the back of the seat that can hold a skateboard. The most outgoing concept, called “High Voltage,” featured bright LED lights that can change color at the push of a remote button, in addition to unique stitching patterns.
“Everyone’s looking to customize more,” said Julie Lanni, who designed High Voltage and has worked at Lear for eight years.
Simoncini said that comfort, safety and lightweight seats are desired now more than ever before, especially among young car-buyers.
“It’s a differentiating factor,” Simoncini said. “If we can come up with interior designs that catch the eye, I do believe it will help sell vehicles.”