Outdoor fabric innovations inspire buyers at AmericasMart
Tammy Trout -- Casual Living, 3/6/2013 2:00:00 PM
ATLANTA - Retail buyers and interior designers attending a Market Wednesday Lunch & Learn event at AmericasMart Atlanta on March 6 learned the latest innovations and trends in outdoor fabrics. Natalie Scott, VP of sales and marketing of casual furniture for Outdura, presented information about design, manufacture and construction of the textiles to help customers better understand what makes high-quality outdoor fabrics unique so they can sell those benefits to end consumers.
Scott focused on the requirements and qualities of solution dyed acrylic fabrics which means the coloring pigment is introduced into the spinning solution when the fiber is created, making the final product exceptionally resilient to both sun and heat. "Quality outdoor furniture is an investment," Scott said. "Understanding the complexity of creating performance fabrics helps consumers understand and appreciate the expense.
"Trends last longer in outdoor," she added. "More longevity in colors and patterns than with interior fabric adds to the long-term value of outdoor furniture."
While Scott said neutrals continue to be the best-sellers, color is vital to keep consumers interested. Emerald and Lemongrass are two inspired colors with introductions of Tangerine, Lime, Hibiscus and Iris adding to the comprehensive palette. Because of the extensive investment in fiber required to create a single color, high-end manufacturers are more limited than other fabric companies. But, sourcing global and fashion trends inspires fabric designers to create myriad options. Global ikats, faux animal skins and geometrics dominate patterns with small scale versions often used on signature pieces instead of traditional solids. Innovations in texture from novelty yarns such as bouclé enable creation of raw silk looks and linen-like fabrics to bring new interest to "solid" colors.
From the fiber production to the finish, manufacture of performance fabrics takes longer and is more complex than traditional textiles, but the end product is more water, stain and fade resistant making it optimum for outdoor use as well as inside for many active families. Quality products are both bleach cleanable and machine washable but should never be dry cleaned because it destroys the characteristics of the fibers.
The seminar was part of AmericasMart's Open Daily and Market Wednesday programs. Many showrooms including all those in Living. Outdoor/Indoor. The Gardens. are open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in addition to market dates.
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