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Decorative Fabrics on Upswing as Washington Chintzes Out

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, January 14, 2008

The edition of Heimtextil 2008 last week perhaps marked another turning point for the world of home textiles and decorative fabrics.

In the manufactured home textiles product arena, there was an apparent decline in the number of fashion-forward, upper-end suppliers. The result — partially empty floors with awkward spaces and a buzz from visitors about "What is wrong?"

Hardly a positive thing to have happening at a market, especially since there also appeared to be a sparseness in the volume of visitors throughout the floors in Hall 9.

In contrast, and quite surprising to many exhibitors, those in Halls 3 and 4 were having a field day. For anyone who is not familiar with the layout of Heimtextil, Halls 3 and 4 are the homes of the decorative fabrics segment: a business that many believe is in major decline.

If the packed show areas with normal aisle spaces and a full floor complement of stands was any indication, the decorative fabrics trade is alive and well — thank you!

And to solidify the scenario, the visitor ranks were wall-to-wall packed — a far cry from Hall 9.

One could say this Heimtextil was a tale of two shows.

Then there is the subject of the American presence at Heimtextil. Rumor has it that the U.S. Department of Commerce will pull its presence out of the world's largest home furnishings textiles show in 2009.

At a time when it should be supporting these businesses, the U.S. government apparently doesn't have the few thousand bucks it would take to effectively and tastefully promote and support this part of American industry.

Perhaps someone in Washington could rethink this decision.

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