Fun with fabrics

Carole Sloan, July 12, 2004

Fun!

Hip!

Exciting!

Whimsy!

Fresh!

Wow!

When was the last time you heard these words used to describe fabrics in the home textiles world?

As this week's Showtime in High Point, N.C., opens, it seems there is a new vocabulary for decorative fabrics — one that could mark a definite change in direction for the ponderous, overwhelming heaviness in color and construction that we've seen in the last half decade.

And helping to spur this transformation of the decorative fabrics business and all the segments it serves is the influence of the kid's marketplace.

As more and more companies begin to understand the marketing clout of these folks who are not allowed to drink or vote and barely can be allowed to drive, it's a wonder how long it took to acknowledge that they might have a clue in terms of color, design, and how they — and their families — want to live.

One only has to look at the awesome success of PB Kids — the offshoot of Pottery Barn — to understand that the world is not just tea stain colorings and bulky fabrics. Yes, we're looking at a different segment of the consuming public. But it is their parents and grandparents who are responding to the looks, colors and attitudes — perhaps taking themselves back a decade or so to when they were hip, light, lively, fresh.

As the decorative fabrics and home textiles markets continue to be subject to extraordinary global influences, the domestic suppliers need to be constantly on the alert for advantages in product development, design leadership and the quality levels demanded by consumers and suppliers in this country.

On the quality issue, the U.S. market must be at the forefront of reinforcing the levels of quality to consumers here.

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