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  • Cinde Ingram

Focus stays on fabric trends at Showtime

Fabric Fair's 20th anniversary noted, but not stressed

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Showtime focused on trends and today's fabric fashions rather than resting on its laurels.
Performance fabric vendors described the show as steady or busy as they kept appointments with buyers ranging from furniture manufacturers to jobbers.
"We're here to brand," said Natalie Scott, VP Shuford Mills, casual furniture sales and marketing. "It's part of our continuing efforts for branding Outdura. This is very much a relationship-building show. We have some meaningful meetings with manufacturers and see a pretty strong audience of retailers."
Tom Himes, vice president of business development for Microfibres, said the June 6-9 show marked the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company's launch of its Outlook by Microfibres line. "This is a brand new venture for our company," Himes said. "We haven't talked to many casual furniture people, but the ones have had have liked the fabric very much."
Four color palettes included three feature prints, solids and coordinating stripes in beige, blue, green/brown and black/white. Himes noted the fabrics are domestically made 100% acrylic, have a UV resistant fiber, are bleach-cleanable and will go 800 to 1,000 hours of light-fastness.
Jane Matteson, founder of TrendStrategy and principal of Matteson Design and Consulting, presented Global Trends: Interpreting the Future. Forecasting from Paris, Cologne, Italy as well as U.S. markets, Matteson advised her audience to make strategic choices.
Matteson noted gray and weathered finishes have replaced more traditional brown at European furniture shows. Orange was being treated as a neutral in Europe, while a clean Shamrock green and bright "big girl" pink were appearing on fabrics. Floral prints are re-emerging along with plays on calligraphy.
"You will see the same kind of prints you might remember from the '60s, but in a different scale," she said. Showing wide diversity in colors, a softer, Easter egg palette is coming through as well as bright neons working against hard, edgy Lucite pieces.
Other emerging trends she noted include: multi-purpose storage pieces; layering to incorporate pieces rather than matched collections; furniture with contemporary, clean lines and roughened edges on reclaimed woods in gray finishes; repurposing industrial pieces and found objects; resins that are clean and clear with low sheen replacing shine.
Matteson spoke of the expense companies face bringing products to market and advised them to take judicious steps toward cohesive brand building.

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