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  • Cecile Corral

Surtex to Offer Design and Artwork Opportunities for Home Textiles Companies

NEW YORK - Among the host of exhibitors partaking in the upcoming original artwork and design market Surtex later this month is a growing collection of companies looking for partners to help them expand more aggressively into the soft home business.
     Set for May 15 to 17 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, this year's annual event is celebrating its silver

Christine AdolphChristine Adolph
anniversary and with it, Surtex's long history and role within the home fashions industry.
     "In its 25-year history, Surtex has played a major role in the success of consumer product sales, particularly home fashions, by bringing the world's greatest creative talent to American marketers, manufacturers and retailers for their product development needs," said Penny Sikalis, vp/show manager.
     She added that the coming event is expected "to set design and color direction for 2012" through the 300 exhibiting companies - including artists, designers, licensors, and agents.
     Also commemorating Surtex's special anniversary is a "Design Forum," which will include many members of the home industry in its panel, Sikalis noted. Dubbed "America Embraces Design...Finally," it will be spearheaded by Revman International's president and ceo, Richard Roman, who will talk about "the powerful impact of design on the home market." Other panelists will include: Tom Mirabile, svp, of Global Trend and Design for Lifetime Brands Inc.; Lynn Shanahan, ceo of the C2Group and current acting president of Marimekko, North America; and Michelle Ishay-Cohen, executive art director of Abrams, publishers of design books about the home.
     Here is a sampling of some other Surtex exhibitors bringing new artwork and design offerings designed for the home textiles industry to the market.

Dena Designs Inc., Lafayette, Calif. - Booth 521

Designer Dena Fishbein has long been working within the soft home business.
     Building on that success, she is coming to Surtex with several new opportunities for textiles suppliers with her latest design additions to her juvenile "happi" program and her long-standing "Dena Home" collection.
     "We are focusing on home textiles this market," she told HTT. "People are looking for something with fresh modernity to it, and I try to make my designs feel really comfortable and homey and warm but with a modern feel."

Design Works International, New York - Booth 120, 124

Nancy Fire, creative director and founder, described her home business as "definitely without a doubt one of our specialties. And we are looking to partner with manufacturers for licensing at Surtex."
     Among the company's latest batch of new offerings: embroideries for decorative pillows and bedding, textiles designs for bedding, hand-painted designs for seasonal table lines, "the list goes on and on," Fire added.

European Textile Collection & ETC Vintage, Los Angeles - Booth 158

After being away for the past six years, the company is coming back to Surtex again at their customers' many requests.
     Fabrizzia Perri, sales manager, will attend Surtex to present the company's latest offering of original works and designs. These will include: "a lot of watercolor, animal skins, feathers, novelties, botanical-etched florals, paisleys, ikats, anything ethnic - those would be big ones. And the vintage side of our company will also be showing some older designs from before the 1980s," she said
     Holiday-themed original artwork will also be part of the mix
     The home business, which includes textiles, represents about 30% of the company's total business.

Gina Freehill & Blu Aura Design Inc., Bartlett Ill. - Booth 462
Gina Freehill & Blu Aura Design Inc.,Gina Freehill & Blu Aura Design Inc.,

Soft home is one area this company is hoping to expand into, owner Gina Freehill said.
     To accomplish this, she is bringing two new special collections targeting home categories.
     Rhapcity, for the younger shopper, is inspired by city living and metropolitan lifestyles, featuring modern lines and palettes with fashion elements and urban vignettes, she said.
     Rose Deco is for more of a traditional customer but gives an updated flair to classic florals to appeal to a broader customer. High contrast palettes and tonal interpretations make this design collection suitable for bedroom decor, Free hill noted.

MHS Licensing, Minneapolis - Booth 435, 437

The company is spotlighting three new artists - Christine Adolph, Patrick Reid O'Brien and Collin Bogle - all of whom create original artwork that can be licensed and translated easily on home textiles products. Adolph is well-established in the scrap-booking world, O'Brien is known for coastal looks, and Bogle paints realistic wildlife paitings.
     "We plan to meet with more than 100 manufacturers, some of them in home textiles, to get discussions going," explained Marty Segelbaum, MHS's president and owner. "Home textiles is a big category for us."

Pink Light Design, Seattle - Booth 317, 416
Christine AdolphChristine Adolph

Mary Beth Freet, the designer, agent and creative director, said the company represents12 artists and licenses designs to manufacturers in different categories, "and we'd love to get into home."
     Pink Light already has some soft home partners, but is looking to expand into more such relationships.
     "We have hundreds of pieces. I would say that anyone in the home industry should stop by and take a look at our variety," which includes mostly graphic illustrations, "but we do have a few watercolor artists and we also have a lot of great designs that work well on fabrics for bedding and pillows," Freet noted.
     Known for its contemporary slant on design, Pink Light also offers custom work.

Tana Bana Design Services, Morristown, N.J. - Booth 115, 117

"Our focus is home," said Susan Ritchie, partner. For Surtex, Tana Bana's design direction will largely be toward "traditional patterns with an updated twist - some kind of new technique or hand drawn effect that makes it more contemporary," Ritchie said. Examples of this include, she cited, "traditional damasks that might be executed in a different kind of technique like a sketched look, or a texture overlay for a contemporary feel."
     Tana Bana will also be showing "a bunch" of ethnic looks, including paisleys and ikats.
     "When I work, my focus is pattern as an element within a living space, and I make sure that it goes well with the other aspects of that space and that is gives a calming, soothing effect," added Shreenie Vasan, partner.

Textile Creations by Lily Inc., New York - Booth 130

This company outright sells - rather than licenses - its design documents and designs, and is bringing to market several new offerings that president Lily Serrano said target home goods.
     With home representing about 60% of its total business, Textile Creations by Lily is bringing to Surtex a large collection of French late 1800s textiles and paintings as well as some American pieces from the 1930s up through the 1970s, "which have become really important in home."
     Serrano added that the vintage theme overall "has become very, very important in home.
     She added that "toiles are coming back, and it's time for them to come back."

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