Outdoor fabric options spread
Casual Living Staff -- Casual Living, February 9, 2011
THE SEMI-ANNUAL Showtime market, held in High Point, N.C., last month, had several outdoor fabric companies displaying major product introductions amongst a generally upbeat group of buyers and browsers.
"People were coming in and were in a good mood," said Robert Patton, president of the International Textiles Manufacturing Association, as well as national sales manager, furniture, for P. Kaufmann. "Registration for the show was good; not the highest ever, but above average."
Patton said he was encouraged by the attitude of folks who were taking some of the hurdles the industry is facing in stride. "Cotton prices are up as are prices in general," he said. "There have been huge increases from the mills. And that price increase is coming across the board - not just with cotton. Everyone here at the market understands what is going on, and many of us are just trying to get our hands around the pricing issue. In spite of everything, there was an upbeat mood."
P. Kaufmann showed its new outdoor collection, Fun in the Sun, which features a heavy woven basket weave, OD Vogue. There are 16 solid colors and 30 printed ones in the collection.
Sunbrella also had positive feedback from the market. "The 50th year anniversary is bringing a lot of excitement and many companies who haven't worked with us before see this as a good time to jump in," said Gina Wicker, Glen Raven's design and creative director. Wicker said she expected the Hot Pink canvas that generated so much buzz at last September's International Casual Furniture Market Apollo Awards dinner to get more play now as a Berry canvas that was carried through to Showtime.
"We treat this as our largest introduction," said Todd Nifong, president of Al Fresco. "We are doing our largest collection this year featuring 196 SKUs, which is double from what we did last year. We have nine color families and we created a color story using the same patterns across all the color families." Al Fresco Denim, the company's classic 16- ounce twill weave, has been expanded to 44 colors total.
Outdura's new line includes 35 patterns and five collections: Well Traveled, High Definition, Cottage Charm, Punch Lines and French Quarters. Also new for the company is a two-tone twist novelty yarn as well as additional colors to the company's boucle palette. Natalie Scott, vice president of sales and marketing, said trend colors continue as Mushroom and Gray, and texture is an important influence for 2012 with "linen-like" looks.
Sunbury introduced 70 new designs. "We're focused on a global theme in an easy, relatable way," said Michelle Clark, designer manager for outdoor/casual product, with Moroccan medallions, ikats, and multi-stripes the main themes. "We've added the color turquoise, a nice accent which is more exuberant, and which works with the bright greens in our collection."
Clark said Indigo blue and purple are also strong accent colors in the line. "A lot of people have a gray or driftwood frame, and with sophisticated neutrals - gray to taupe to white - this allows our customers to play it safe, but have pillows and other accents that take things in a new direction."
For 2012, the global theme will continue, she added, but with some modifications. "We'll be working with a smaller scale of patterns which are easier to use on accent items like pillows," Clark said.
Phifer launched its Microban antimicrobial additive in its outdoor furniture sling fabrics, the Phifertex PVC Collection, for an extra layer of cleanliness protection. "This is infused into our yarn and the technology inhibits growth of mold and stain-causing bacteria," National Market Manager Hugo Benitez said.
Tom Himes, vice president of business development, Microfibres, said an extended color palette and new prints are the focus for the company's Outlook line. "We've extended our palette with new solids ranging from browns and grays to reds, greens and brights."
Here is a look at some of the introductions:
Sunbury Bedouin Stripe Neutral
Sunbury Vintage Leaves
Phifer Elements Balbo