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Mancini to Design for Valdese

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, March 31, 2006

Valdese, N.C. — Wesley Mancini will design and develop a decorative textiles collection for Valdese Weavers under a long-term agreement signed between Valdese and Wesley Mancini Ltd. that is scheduled to begin July 1. Valdese will merchandise, market and manufacture the collection that will be known as the Wesley Mancini Home Fabrics Collection, designed and developed by Mancini. The collection will be targeted to each of the channels of distribution that Valdese already serves “and will be in addition to our current in-house design effort,” stated Mike Shelton, Valdese president and ceo.

“Wesley will work directly with Laura Levinson, Valdese senior vp, product development and design, to distinguish the individuality of product lines as they are developed to insure their uniqueness in the marketplace,” he added.

“I'm very excited about this new venture. I'm looking forward to creating upper end looks in designs I'm known for — dramatic designs, large scale — and I'll be doing velvets and embroideries as well as jacquards,” Mancini said, but he emphasized, “I'm still working on the Home collection, and I'm really proud of this, my last line.” Mancini has designed the Home line for nearly a quarter century.

“What I'm excited about is that I'm one of the last in the old-school group. In a way, this represents my mid-life crisis instead of a sports car.” Looking ahead, Mancini said, “I feel the pressure to make my debut collection spectacular. I'm excited about their service and ability to get product out. But before that, I need to know their warps and warp colors. It's a little strange going into the unknown, but it's exciting. Up until now, every yarn and color were mine; I'm very grateful that I've had this.”

Levinson said, “I know absolutely how his product is different from ours, and his working with us will enable us to capture more business. He's more refined, more detail oriented, brings a different expertise with weaves and their components, and he has a different color sensibility.” Levinson emphasized, “We don't want to repeat what he has done. We're going to be looking at new warp and filling yarns, and important R&D efforts with new colors and yarns.”

Shelton said of Valdese, “The market has an insatiable appetite for fashion and new product, and Wesley will give us the opportunity to supply the market with new and different product. He has his own style and handwriting.” Shelton terms Mancini's departure from the Joan organization as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We can jump-start product development expansion and create a quantum shift in the market. The most important value-added that Valdese represents is our prolific design and product capability.”

Valdese last year announced a major capital expansion in manufacturing capacity and also established Valdese International Products (VIP) to add sourced products to its domestic production.

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