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Cinde W. Ingram

Fresh fabrics debut for 2010: Trends and tips from winter Showtime

fabric showcase

A fresh array of fabrics brought dramatic designs and clean graphic looks to the International Textile Market Association’s winter 2009 Showtime fair.

With a show roster boasting more than 25 exhibitors under the category of outdoor textiles, there was a wealth of introductions and insight worth taking about.

Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, maker of Sunbrella, stayed busy in its relocated showroom with customers from both the indoor and outdoor markets. “Our new space is fully decorated with Sunbrella fabrics and furnishings, and is sure to become a can’t-miss stop for customers visiting Showtime and (High Point) Furniture Market in the future,” said Gina Wicker, design and creative director for Glen Raven. “Our goal during Showtime is to help customers reinvent their fabric offerings with new patterns that coordinate with existing styles. Given today’s challenging economy, we believe this strategy will resonate with customers.”

Several fabric executives said traffic from furniture manufacturers, catalogers and jobbers was strong in their showrooms, ahead of the past few fabric fairs. They expressed confidence about the gradual increase in orders, but still were cautious about whether orders will be placed soon enough to serve the end consumer when desired. Fabric manufacturers stressed they are positioned for sales and ready to supply now.

Overall, fabric patterns trended toward more transitional and modern looks with Southwest, ethnic and travel influences appearing in a broad range. Suzani, ikat, tribal and Mediterranean patterns remain important, appearing in simple shapes and vibrant colors. Creole red, curry and terra cotta competed for attention with sunny copper/orange shades designed to add a luminous touch.

Textured neutrals, florals and stripes – both casual and dressy – were unveiled for performance fabrics, which were being ordered for indoor as well as outdoor uses. Some patterns include touches of turquoise, which Pantone proclaimed will be the color of 2010.

Gray repeated as a neutral, sometimes combined with plum, while orange leaned toward brown shades and has become a new neutral, according to Jane Matteson, founder of TrendStrategy service and principal of Matteson Design and Consulting.

In opposition to the economic doom-and-gloom, expect to see bright, happy colors on the horizon, Matteson said. The palette will feel positive and dynamic.

Popular colors in the fashion world right now include orange, peacock blue, purple, indigo, pink and black and white, said Ellen Gefen, trend forecaster and author of thehome.com.

“These fashion trend colors will influence the home fashion trend colors in upcoming seasons,” Gefen said. “Trends often begin from the ground up from the shoes and handbags to the clothes you wear.”

Some other noteworthy fashion influences to keep a finger on are animal print being resurrected in new ways and colors.

“Look for a return to the classics. Butterfly and insect motifs will become popular again,” Gefen said. “There is not just one trend. There is a trend for everyone. We are finding the look that works well for us and going with it.”

Shuford Mills/ Outdura debuted several collections with patterns ranging from ikat and animal print to trellis motifs and all over paisley designs. “We believe we have something to offer everybody,” said Natalie Scott, vice president of sales and marketing for Shuford Mills/ Outdura.

1. Durability rules

Durability and its popularity, long acknowledged in the outdoor industry, are now becoming more obvious to indoor furniture buyers.

“We may not be seeing a large number of outdoor furniture manufacturers at the show, but we are seeing indoor furniture customers interested more in the fade resistance and durability of outdoor yarns,” said Pamela Barto, partner in Williamsport, Pa.-based Phoenix Trim Works.

Durability as a must-have for outdoor fabrics was a much discussed topic at Showtime. From the creation of the woven yarns to the inks used on printed cloth, durability was key. Libeco, a linen manufacturer headquartered in Belgium, displayed another option for outdoor durability. With a construction of 91% linen and 9% polyester, Libeco’s linens are mold and mildew resistant due to the finishing the fabric undergoes.

“Any linen within our line can be created for outdoor durability with a quantity commitment,” said Kathryn Richardson, vice president of sales. “With the finishing, all of the fabrics fully meet the technical requirements for outdoor use.”

2. Growing the category

As many manufacturers made major commitments to their durable lines for 2010, David Rothschild Company was one that came to the show with proof of an investment including the creation of their own solution-dyed yarns. Rothschild cited the dual outdoor and indoor use of fabrics as a factor in the growth of the category and their commitment to it.

“The ability to transition from indoor fabrics, which we have supplied for 100 years, to supply outdoor styles will be required by more retailers,” said Susan McAllister, designer for David Rothschild Company. “If a fabric line meets the homeowner’s interior tastes, why not for the outdoor spaces also?”

Printed polyester manufacturer, Swavelle/Mill Creek introduced 32 SKUs in its Tropix line, exhibiting its commitment to the category. “We have new introductions twice a year, and our commitment extends to fully stocking each for immediate shipment,” said Howard Ebert, Swavelle/Mill Creek sales manager.

3. Greens and Greening

Eco-friendly constructions were being introduced everywhere along with earth tones. Of note was a new green introduced in the Rothschild showroom. “Leland green is the new green,” McAllister said.

Overall colorations continue to be in keeping with the appetite of the marketplace. Victor’s introductions to its Terrazzo line included soft plum and multicolored novelty designs. Victor expanded its story of sustainability with its eHome line.

Clodagh for Duralee and Libeco are among the other fabric lines strongly promoting ecological awareness in marketing literature.

4. Textures and trims

The tactile nature of many introductory fabrics was another talking point. For Rothschild as well as Victor’s Terrazzo, novelty yarns including chenille and boucle were used to create heathers and highlight elements within fabric designs.

For trim company Phoenix, partnering with Sunbrella yarns has created a successful basis for their products and a steady stream of introductions. “When new colors are added to Sunbrella, we add them as well,” Barto said. “With the unlimited combinations of yarns possible, we do not offer stock product.”

One challenge for Phoenix is introducing buyers to products that flow beyond the basic fringe. Some of these items include decorative weave edging, unique twists and deep looping.

Overall, the show’s atmosphere was positive with a steady stream of appointments at nearly every showroom or booth. Ebert said he was pleased with the traffic and activity, having seen buyers from retail and jobbers as well as manufacturers consistently. “We are pleased with the category overall. It is growing,” Ebert said. “We attribute the success we are seeing to the high quality designs that we are able to present each show.”

Although the fabric industry has not escaped the current economic circumstances and challenging times, there are successes to be found. The secret seems to be in focusing on the basics of design in combination with the durability factor to make a winning combination and ultimately provide much to talk about.

Nature’s Retreat

Clodagh for Duralee. Collection: Global Passage. Pattern/Color: 15214-28 Aloe; available in five colorways including as shown in Cardamom/Grass, Curry/Jasper, Azure/Reef, Charcoal/Pepper and Natural/Peaberry. Construction: 40% post consumer recycled polyester and 25% rayon.

Glen Raven. Collection: Pistachio Group. Pattern/Color: Renewal Linden, transitional climbing leaf with textured weave in charcoal and soft green. Construction: 100% solution-dyed acrylic.

Outdura by Shuford Mills. Collection: Elements. Pattern/Color: Circuit, pewter; Beacon, nickel and Cadence, oxide. Construction: 100% solution-dyed acrylic.

Phifer. Collection: Phifertex Cushion Fabrics. Pattern/Color: Jungle Beat in tropical blue and green. Construction: 100% recyclable olefin.

Richloom Fabrics Group. Collection: Solarium. Pattern: Coventry Noir. Construction: 100% spun polyester.

Sunbury Textiles. Collection: Sunbury Sunbrella 2010. Pattern/Color: Tumble Leaves 801. Construction: 100% Sunbrella solution-dyed acrylic.

Swavelle/Mill Creek. Collection: Tropix. Pattern/Color: Saltillo, multicolor leaf pattern. Construction: 100% spun polyester.

Twitchell. Collection: Bellezza. Pattern/Color: Phoenix in earth tones. Construction: 100% polyester with recycled content.

Victor. Collection: Terrazzo. Pattern/Color: Love Birds in multicolor repeat. Construction: polyester/acrylic.

Pattern Parade

Al Fresco Functional Fabrics. Collection: Don’t Sweat Just Fret. Pattern/Color: Geometrical circle fret, wave fret, shadow fret, lock block fret, brushed pane in cocoa. Construction: Reversible, 100% high UV polyester.

Clodagh for Duralee. Collection: Global Passage. Pattern/Color: 15212-210 Artichoke; available in five colorways including as shown in Cardamom/Grass, Curry/Jasper, Azure/Reef, Charcoal/Pepper and Natural/Peaberry. Construction: 66% post consumer recycled polyester and 34% polyester.

David Rothschild. Collection: Leland Green. Pattern/Color: Moorea in kiwi. Construction: 100% solution-dyed acrylic.

Glen Raven, Sunbrella. Collection: Gotcha Parchment. Pattern/Color: Contemporary design of overlapping circles in neutral palette. Construction: 100% solution-dyed acrylic featuring boucle yarns.

Highland Court, division of Duralee. Collection: Marakesh. Pattern/Color: 180964H-509 in walnut and almond. Construction: 86% rayon and 14% polyester, Teflon finish available.

Phifer. Collection: Phifertex Cushion Fabrics. Pattern/Color: Quickstep, a blue and white lattice with medallion. Construction: 100% recyclable olefin.

Richloom Fabrics Group. Collection: Better Homes & Gardens outdoor print pattern. Pattern: Miley sandstone. Construction: 100% Spun polyester.

Sunbury Textiles. Collection: Sunbury Sunbrella 2010. Pattern/Color: Suzani Stripe 101. Construction: 100% Sunbrella solution-dyed acrylic.

Swavelle/Mill Creek. Collection: Tropix. Pattern/Color: Oskar, shown in Sea. Construction: 100% spun polyester.

Victor. Collection: Terrazzo. Pattern/Color: Emporium in soft plum. Construction: 100% solution-dyed acrylic.

Color My World

Al Fresco Functional Fabrics. Collection: Lollipop. Pattern/Color: Polka dots in bisque, spa, dill, pecan, snow and 12 other colors. Construction: 100% high UV polyester tissue pick with crepe ground weave.

Brentano. Collection: Bungalow. Pattern/Color: Casbah-Walled Garden, Bungalow-Inglenook, Portico-Terrazzo, Casita-Bahia in teal. Construction: 100% solution-dyed acrylic.

Chella Textiles. Collection: Topographie. Pattern/Color: Three-leaf clusters, both open and enclosed, in a non-directional design adapted from a Japanese kimono and available in six colorways including Carnelian (pictured), Sand Dune, Sandstone, Thistle, Desert Sage and Ink. Construction: 100% solution-dyed acrylic.

J. Ennis Fabrics. Collection: Everyday Color Indoor Outdoor. Pattern/Color: (front to back): Hothouse in garnet, Sunbrella Shadow in paprika, Jardin in chestnut, Sunbrella dupione in papaya, Sunbrella in terra cotta, Sunbrella dupione in bamboo, Gazebo in fire island, Sunbrella Shadow in brick. Construction: 100% solution-dyed acrylic.

Outdura by Shuford Mills. Collection: French Twist. Pattern/Color: Lavalier and Chateau in cayenne, Traveler in bloom. Construction: 100% solution-dyed acrylic

Phifer. Collection: Phifertex Cushion Fabrics. Pattern/Color: Tandoor in blue and green quatrefoil. Construction: 100% recyclable olefin.

Richloom Fabrics Group. Collection: Solarium. Pattern: Island Salsa. Construction: 100% spun polyester.

Swavelle/Mill Creek. Collection: Tropix. Pattern/Color: Lemoyne, shown in Flame. Construction: 100% spun polyester.

Wearbest Sil-Tex Mills. Collection: Casual Line 2010 Resort. Pattern/Color: Veranda, mango. Construction: Single shuttle.

Sophisticated Stripes

Al Fresco Functional Fabrics. Collection: Al Fresco Colorworks. Pattern/Color: Cabana Stripe, hammock, denim, Bimini in royalty blue and 12 other colors; Construction: All stripes are up the roll.

David Rothschild. Collection: Outdoor. Pattern/Color: Margate in garden palette. Construction: 100% solution-dyed acrylic.

Glen Raven. Collection: Solaris Group. Pattern/Color: Carnegie Hearth in a mix of heathery wheat, gold, brown and melon. Construction: 100% solution-dyed acrylic.

J. Ennis Fabrics. Collection: Everyday Color Indoor Outdoor. Pattern/Color: Stripes, solids and prints (from left) Sunbrella 51000-0013 in shadow charcoal; Sunbrella Renata 8005 in hemp; Sunbrella 75000-0000 in antique beige; Sunbrella Caroline 5644 in sea; Sunbrella 8317 SW in pampas linen; Madison 6009 in sand, and Tracery 6009 in oyster cabana. Construction: 100% solution-dyed acrylic.

Outdura by Shuford Mills. Collection: A Touch of Tradition. Pattern/Color: Reunion, Jubilee and Dynasty in tidewater with Bravo in kona. Construction: 100% solution-dyed acrylic.

Phifer. Collection: Phifertex Cushion Fabrics. Pattern/Color: Swizzle with sand, gold, brown, hot coral and green narrow stripes. Construction: 100% recyclable olefin.

Richloom Fabrics Group. Collection: Solarium. Pattern: Cove Stripe Noir. Construction: 100% spun polyester.

Sunbury Textiles. Collection: Sunbury Sunbrella 2010. Pattern/Color: Stitched Path 801. Construction: 100% solution-dyed acrylic.

Swavelle/Mill Creek. Collection: Tropix. Pattern/Color: Lundsford Stripe, shown in Rainbow. Construction: 100% spun polyester.

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