• Cinde Ingram

The Outdoors Move in at High Point

Sunbrella introduced severalSunbrella introduced several designs with a handmade, artisanal look.
HIGH POINT, N.C. - Perhaps more than any other trend at Showtime earlier this month, outdoor fabric vendors agreed on one resounding message - the outdoors are moving in, and the indoors are moving out.
     Many vendors said they're now pushing their traditionally outdoor lines as indoor/outdoor performance fabrics that will withstand tough conditions, whether that means outdoor elements or a messy kitchen. The indoor/outdoor fabric options on display June 2-5 in High Point also included a wide array of colors, patterns and textures, further melding indoor style and outdoor durability.
     "The outdoors are moving indoors and the indoors are moving out," said Charles "Chuck" Zaberto, vice president of the Solarium division of Richloom Fabrics Group. "Those lines are completely blurred and we welcome it."
     Bella-Dura Executive vp Ari Gasner said the company is promoting its performance fabrics for placemats, tablecloths and other indoor applications in addition to outdoor furniture and accessory uses. In addition to new colors and patterns, Bella-Dura introduced more texture into its line at Showtime with the debut of pleated fabrics.
     "This is the first dimensional outdoor fabric in the marketplace," Gasner said. "We're being very sensitive to the hand of the fabric to give it that luxuriousness."
Outdura finds customers areOutdura finds customers are responding to shades of green, including Emerald and Lemongrass, as well as geometrics and animal prints like its Crazy Horse fabric, shown at far right in Pesto and Jade.

     Home furnishings style harkens back to nature in every single color story, according to Jane Matteson, founder of TrendStrategy and a consultant to Swarowski Elements.
     She presented style and color trends to audiences during two days at Showtime. Iridescent shades of blue that capture the play of light on water are gaining strength along with watercolor looks and tight organic forms, such as bees and the honeycomb look. Colors are showing up in edgy, strong geometrics but green botanicals are everywhere at homes today, she said. "Clearly, green made a mark this year," Matteson said.
     "Emerald has been big for us," said Natalie Scott, vp of sales and marketing, Outdura. "Pantone's color of the year has been consistent for us. Lemongrass was a new fiber color for us last year and it's doing extremely well. It's almost a neutral because it can go with almost anything.
     "Gray is still a huge trend," Scott added. "Novelty yarns and textures are really big. Skins continue to be important. The consumer is comfortable with that look. Our Crazy Horse pattern is selling in lemongrass and white, hibiscus and white and pesto/jade color combinations. Our customers have been really receptive to the new colors. I think it's a sign that people are feeling good about their purchases."
     Overall, colors and patterns trended softer and subtler than at Showtime's December outing, where bold, bright colors and sharp geometrics dominated. This time, greens veered more toward earthy, mid-tone hues, blues went darker in shades of navy, cobalt and lapis and understated coral and persimmon replaced vivid red and orange.
     "We're doing variations of blue," said Paula Serna, design manager, Robert Allen Group. "Right now a deep navy is big, and pops of turquoise chambray. It's more saturated, but muted. It's almost like a filtered look."
     Sharp geometrics still made their mark at the June fabric fair, particularly chevron, but more often geometric patterns trended softer, boasting curved and circular motifs.
Variations of blue wereVariations of blue were a major trend at Showtime, particularly darker shades of navy and lapis as exhibited by these Phifer offerings.

     "Geometrics are still a big part of what we're seeing this season," Serna said.
     Another common thread among Showtime exhibitors was the idea of making the old new by updating traditional colors, patterns and textures.
     "We're seeing a big resurgence in traditional fabrics with a lifestyle, casual feel," said Wendy Haithcox, director of design, Abercrombie Textiles. "We're modernizing some patterns by blowing up the scale," as well as providing textures and pops of color.
     Sunbrella updated a classic pattern on a neutral canvas by outlining a sophisticated quatrefoil design with bright pops of color such as orange, purple and aqua. The company also infused modern appeal into global inspired designs by incorporating smaller-scale patterns and combining bright pops of color with neutral earth tones.
     "We have a handmade artisanal type of look that has been popular," said Greg Voorhis, decorative fabrics design manager for Glen Raven. "The big things are global and artisanal, that global influence across the board."
     Sustainability stories were also prevalent in indoor/outdoor fabrics at Showtime, such as Sunbrella's Renaissance line crafted from recycled content
     Abercrombie's Ecovation line is made of 100% polyester that has at least 60% Repreve post consumer yarn content and "a green story we can take to the consumer," Haithcox said. Abercrombie Textile's American Summer Collection offers five color groups in polyolefin for a good starting price point, she said. "We've had great success with it so far so we're adding to it with more up-the-roll stripes."
     Other key trends at Showtime included animal prints and incorporating animals into patterns. Among Robert Allen's indoor/outdoor offerings is Modern Bungalow, the fourth collection from Dwell Studio for Robert Allen. The collection's Jungalow pattern features a large-scale black and white tiger against a lush botanical scene.
     Liora Manne showcased both forms of animal influence, including a zebra stripe pattern and an earthy green design featuring birds perched on branches. Matteson advised attendees to look for Liora Manne's Flower Chair, calling it a "stunning, masterful work."

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