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Cinde W. Ingram

Star-spangled fabrics

Lane VentureLane Venture’s WeatherMaster line is one of the fi rst to be upholstered with Sunbrella’s Heritage fabric.
After the recovery started, Wearbest Sil-Tex Mills President Irwin Gasner began hearing more talk about Made in America, a subject that's dear to his heart as he leads the fourth-generation New Jersey mill.
     "All of the sudden, people became more conscious about putting our labor force back to work," Gassner said. "When they hear Made in America, there's a national pride issue and also there's a huge practicality issue. The soft economy actually benefi ts domestic manufacturers for the simple reason that when you're buying from abroad, you have to buy in advance and you have to buy large quantities. When you buy in America, you can buy in small increments and you can buy it when you need it."
    Gassner developed the Bella- Dura brand almost seven years ago "with the goal of being able to cut across a whole variety of markets for indoor and outdoor." Today, Bella-Dura is being sold for residential and hospitality uses in health care, hotels and restaurants. "It cuts across every market that we serve, and not only is the fabric made in America, but the fi ber is made in America, too," he said. "We're a truly made in America story."
     Austrian performance textile company Satt ler AG bought Outdura early this year from Shuford Mills partly because of Outdura's design and production facility in Hudson, N.C. "We are proud of the legacy of our Hudson plant, which was built in the 1880s," Outdura CEO CP Davis said. "It gives us an edge. We have highly skilled spinners, weavers and finishers. We are conscious of protecting our brand and have built customers' confidence that they can have their orders in hours or days and it will be on time and in full. We're competing globally, but one of the biggest markets is the U.S. market."
     At this month's International Casual Furnishings Association Preview Show, buyers will see Sunbrella's Heritage pattern on outdoor upholstery products. As the first fabric pattern that parent company Glen Raven is introducing in its Renaissance Collection, Heritage is 100% made in the USA and also includes a green story, said Suzanne Roberts, Sunbrella, vice president and business manager of furniture fabrics.
     As a global company making products in France, Asia and in its Anderson, S.C. plant, Glen Raven tracks fibers and fabrics in order to meet government yarn forward rules. Depending on Sunbrella's customers and where they are using fabrics, if a consumer is asking for USA-made products, the fabric maker can't always guarantee it. But with this new fabric, there's no question.
Bella-DuraBella-Dura Snow Leopard pattern makes the leap from outdoors to indoors and from residential to contract use.

     "We started with CMI making Sunbrella Rugs with our Renaissance yarns, which is using post-industrial recycled content," Roberts said. "Our intent was to naturally bring that into an upholstery-grade product."
     Heritage, a canvas-like fabric, is 50% recycled content. "We take our trim waste from our plant or trim waste from our customers," she said.
     "You're still going to have more color variation than we've had in Sunbrella traditionally, just because of the recycled nature, but we're trying to control that by using virgin fi ber with 50% recycled content. It's a great recycled story and it's 100% made in the USA."

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