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Global influences steer solid color direction

New York — Globalism may be a contentious issue for world powers and a competitive dilemma for U.S. consumer product companies, but for designers at the country's largest mills, global influences are proving to be a rich source of inspiration for solid-color direction going into the New York Home Textiles Market.

Two suppliers that are authorities in the world of color, Springs Industries and Pillowtex Corp., are both taking this direction. The Fort Mill, SC-based Springs, in particular, is changing its approach by adopting a strategy that addresses six lifestyles, adding a total of 30 new colors. Each of the lifestyles is addressed through an existing solid construction.

"It's a new direction based on a re-focused design effort tying in detail with innovation," said Gary Filippone, vp of design for Springs Industries, Fort Mill, SC, when he was asked about the reasons behind the move.

Vintage is inspired by "worn antiques" and is related and casual in feeling. The sheet program addressing this niche is Springs' Wamsutta 280-count Pima rich, which is 60/40 Pima cotton/polyester. The new colors here are rose, sage, almond, pistachio and crème brulee.

Colors for Elements are influenced by organic materials and intriguing textures designed to work harmoniously together. The program for this lifestyle is the Wamsutta 300 Pima Sateen. Harvest, mushroom, truffle, Venetian red and eucalyptus have been added to the palette.

Urban, Filippone said, is an assortment of sleek designs. The colors are saturated and rich and have "an overall downtown nature." The new colors have been added to the Wamsutta 400 Luxury Sateen line. They are blue slate, dove, mulberry, storm and lilac.

Heirloom is the masculine side of the Vintage lifestyle. Its colors are "rich and handsome." They include fig, bottle green, juniper, bamboo and pesto (a sand-like neutral).

The Exotic lifestyle centers around global exploration and blends gold and saturated "native colors" with designs that are inspired by worldwide travel. The Wamsutta 300 Pima Sateen line has also been chosen for this lifestyle. New colors include cordovan, spruce, peacock, russet and tiger's eye, which is a shade of gold.

Rounding out the lifestyles is Cosmopolitan, which is "luminous and innovative, fun and forward." The Wamsutta 280 Pima rich repeats here with new colors including midnight, magenta, amaryllis (a rich red), emerald and goldenrod (a shade of yellow).

The Kannapolis, NC-based Pillowtex is also introducing a wide range of new colors for its myriad lines. This may represent a step away from the company's policy of only unveiling new colors during its annual Color College.

According to Gretchen Dale, vp of design and new product development, Pillowtex is following two color directions this market. The first is very bright and tropical, and the other is aimed at mid-tones.

The Royal Velvet Solid 275-count program is addressing the tropical end with nine new colors — sun-kissed yellow, orange tango, paradise pink, wild orchid, purple passion, blue lagoon, lush green, java and onyx.

The relatively new Intrigue line, a 300-count dobby, takes the mid-tone route with rose quartz, azur, jasmine, cordovan, mulberry and bluegrass. The palette for Intrigue had been very soft and pale. The new palette, Dale said, needed "that mid-tone punch."

"It's very unusual for us to introduce new colors now," Dale said. "I think it's because we needed that jump of color." She added that Pillowtex is shipping all of the new colors by the end of April.

Undergoing a total overhaul of its palette is the Fieldcrest Sueded Sateen line, which is a 100 percent cotton sateen line. The new colors are white, muslin, prairie (a warm, yellow-casted light green), rain cloud (a gray casted mid-tone blue), thistle (a smokey mid-tone purple), sienna, walnut, henna (a deep red with a rosy undertone), dungaree and stallion (the deepest shade of gray before it's black).

According to David Williams, design director for Fieldcrest, the new palette is "traditional with a twist" and is more updated. "Visually, there's a huge difference," Williams said.

The Atlanta-based Design Works, the spinoff company that was formerly the adult bedding division of Crown Crafts, has taken a much more low-key approach to its color introductions. The company's Royal Sateen brand, a 410-count Egyptian cotton line, sees the addition of six new colors, three each for the Royalty Floral and Royalty Diamond lines.

"We're building on what was introduced last market," said Glen Giordano, director of merchandising for Design Works. "Floral is going from a more floral to more of a pastel, softer palette, and the Diamond is becoming more saturated with a menswear-type look."

Silver/green, sky blue and mist are all new for Floral while nutmeg, mahogany and slate are new for Diamond.

WestPoint Stevens, based here, which has several solid color programs, declined to speak about its color direction. And, according to Dan River Home Fashions, no new colors have been added to the licensed Alexander Julian Watercolors 220-count all cotton line.

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