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Manufacturers feeling their way with new textures

The main focus in soft window coverings can be summed up in one word: texture.

Whether it's through the use of embellishments or the construction of the fabric, soft window coverings manufacturers and suppliers say if it's got texture then it's got substance.

"The window market is still about fabric and whatever surface textural thing you can brings to the table," said Jerry Pittman, executive vp of Arley Home Fashions. "The mass appeal today is in textural fabrics."

Pittman said window coverings with different slubs, weaving techniques — anything that generally creates an interest in the fabric — are what's driving the market today.

Wendy Keryk, president of Richloom Home Fashions Window division, said the combination of two or more textures on one window is preferred.

"I really think the interplay of different textures working together is the look that's ideal right now" Keryk said. "It's even better when textures are made up of some of the wonderful techniques we've developed here combined with goods from overseas."

From flocking to crushing to heat-transfers to jacquards to sheers, a full range of textures is now available to consumers. A wide variety of fabrics are also being used to add textural interest. Cotton and polyester remain the mainstays, but how they are being offered is vastly different from a few years ago. Chenille, rayon and voile, as well as a wide variety of other fabrics, including polyester suede, are now offered.

Texture can also take the form of embellishments, and everything from ball fringe to appliqued flowers to handkerchief stitching is making its appearance.

"People want that interest at the window," said Keryk. "You need to have an assortment that includes different but complementary looks going from the panel to the sheer."

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