Brighter prospects ahead
Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, April 16, 2001
Very quietly, and just as quickly, decorative quilts have resurfaced on the home textiles landscape as a fashion force.
As one knowledgeable retailer remarked, quilts never have disappeared. They merely have cycled from a fashion item to an "all sizes at whatever your lowest price could possibly be."
Now the cycle is once again on the upswing, and what market week produced was quite wonderful. Whether it was in the kids area, where quilts were part of well-thought-out complete bed, bath, and novelty accessory collections or in better bedding, where quilts were more than a viable alternative to a comforter, a fashion statement was being made — loud and clear.
Whether it was the use of embellishments like embroideries or appliques or just new ways of piecing together fabrics, it was like a giant quilting bee had taken places.
Another wonderful development at this recent market was the way so many companies responded to what is definitely one of the major growth areas — stuff designed for kids and tweeners — as well as for young moderns, a group not yet fully identified other than being part of amorphous Gen Y.
Besides the plethora of licensed products for kids that, as usual, covered the gamut from sports to books to TV characters, there was a wealth of non-licensed stuff for kids of every age. And what was being offered went far beyond just the bedding and some occasional bath items. In a number of showrooms it was more of a lifestyle that people could buy into, age notwithstanding.
In some showrooms the critical question was who is going to buy all the different categories — with turfdoms being as rigidly dedicated as they typically are at retail. And as successful as some of the earlier programs have been, the suppliers admit there is still this turf war going on.
But it was in the mood of the young moderns, a category of people who aren't up for the overloaded heavy chenille top-of-bed coverings, that was among the most interesting development.
An outgrowth or extension of the tweeners, it picked up on the resurgence of brights in the home textiles color palette and added a substantial dollop of contemporary design, especially in prints.
So it can be said that it only took a couple of years, but the American marketplace finally caught up to its European counterparts — in color and a return of fun and energetic print.
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