Global influence inspires Joe Ruggiero's Showtime introductions
Brent Felgner -- Casual Living, June 3, 2013
HIGH POINT, N.C. - Globetrotting is once again front and center for Joe Ruggiero and his newest Sunbrella fabrics debuting during this week's Showtime in High Point, N.C. From France, America and Italy to Sweden, England and Japan, Ruggiero is adapting global cultures for new Sunbrella fabrics for home décor.
"I've been fortunate to have travelled all around the world and experienced many different cultures first hand," said Ruggiero, whose career has spanned TV and print journalism and well as product design and brand management. "When we design our new Sunbrella fabrics each season, I interpret these global influences for today's consumers."
Ruggiero is introducing six fabric collections during Showtime that are grouped by region of inspiration - France, America, Italy, Sweden, England and Japan. Deep colorways, textural effects and intricate details resembling hand stitching are hallmarks of many of the new fabrics.
"I have been working with the Sunbrella design team to re-create the look of fine heirloom stitching, and I believe we have achieved this goal with the June Showtime collection," Ruggiero said.
The second oldest cave art discovered by archeologists is from the Chauvet Cave in France, which dates back 32,000 years. Ruggiero was inspired by these primitive yet elegant drawings to create his own artwork that has been translated into the pattern Hieroglyph. This new pattern is offered in the colors of Pebble, Wren, Teak, Indigo and Coal.
Another Sunbrella pattern influenced by France is Toile, which was inspired by a fabric description that entered the English language around the 12th century from a French word meaning "linen cloth" or "canvas." Ruggiero's Toile pattern incorporates recycled Sunbrella yarns and is offered in the colors of Crimson, Denim, Maize, Ink, Curry, Burnish and Leaf.
Rounding out the French collection is Check Me Out, a pattern inspired by the classic look of gingham fabric. The French refer to gingham fabric as "Vichy" because they believe it originated in the Vichy region of France. This same pattern has been a staple of American décor and apparel for centuries. Ruggiero's new take on gingham is available in Stone, Pebble, Sky, Dusk, Melon, Chocolate and Classic.
During the past several markets, Ruggiero has emphasized American classics in his design direction, and this emphasis continues for June Showtime. Navajo blankets have long been prized by collectors the world over for their heritage and beauty, and Ruggiero based his new pattern Western after the multi-colored look of this American classic. Look for Western in the colors of Seagrass, Cameo, Dusk, Emerald, Sulfur, Indigo and Charcoal.
Also included in the American collection and inspired by native culture is the new pattern Tasco, which has the texture of Native American hand-woven baskets also treasured by collectors. This highly textural fabric is offered in the colors of Dusk, Natural, Stone, Earth, Lagoon and Mesa.
With his own family heritage from Italy, Ruggiero has a special affinity for the fine silks of Venice, which gave rise to Giovanni, a fanciful leaf pattern. Ruggiero's interpretation is made highly textural by using recycled Sunbrella yarns that lend the fabrics a hand-woven aesthetic. Look for Giovanni in the colors of Seagrass, Smoke and Pebble.
The Swedish love of beautiful bouquets is reflected in Ruggiero's Astrid pattern, which incorporates the look of hand stitching on a ribbed face fabric. Ruggiero discovered the inspiration for Astrid during travels to Sweden, and through advanced weaving technology the Sunbrella team has recreated a look true to classic Swedish artwork. Astrid is being featured in Cherry, Lace and Gravel.
Ruggiero turned to the British Empire as inspiration for Boss Tweed II, an adaption of an earlier offering, Boss Tweed. The new generation of this pattern, which was inspired by classic menswear from haute couture in London, has been recolored and re-engineered to create an extra soft hand. A deep colorway supports Boss Tweed II, including Salt, Pebble, Wren, Celadon, Storm, Dusk, Granite, Mink, Maize, Chili, Indigo and Denim.
Japan has often influenced Ruggiero's home décor designs, including his visits to authentic indigo dyeing studios. Japanese characters from ancient art inspired Ruggiero to create his own original artwork that inspired the pattern Symbols. Colorways include Indigo, Pumice and Pebble.
"The advances that Glen Raven continues to make in yarn creation and weaving technology are enabling us to produce fabrics that offer an authentic interpretation of handmade fabrics from all over the world at affordable price points," Ruggiero said. "Consumers are drawn first and foremost to the colors and designs, and when they find out it's Sunbrella with all of its performance qualities, the fabrics virtually sell themselves."