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Cecile Corral

Full coordination trend drives textile fashions

NEW YORK — Mohawk Home, Barth and Dreyfuss and American Fabrics Co. all had one thing in common this past market: their potholders coordinated perfectly with their decorative pillows and everything in between.

In one of the latest trends in home textiles, kitchen textiles are being made to match with table linens that also coordinate with two sizes of decorative pillows and a throw blanket.

At April market, the three manufacturers mentioned above used their showrooms to make the statement that full coordination "makes sense," said Jeff Jacobs, vp, textile products and global sourcing for Mohawk Home, based in Sugar Valley, GA.

"We are making a concentrated effort to take themes that we think make sense and extend them from the kitchen into the family room, or as they call it now 'the great room area,' since in a lot of houses these spaces are interconnected," Jacobs said. "We have coordinated runners, place mats and chairpads to 18- and 27-inch tapestry decorative pillows and throws for use in the great room or just as decorative add-ons in the kitchen."

According to Los Angeles-based Barth and Dreyfuss, "Kitchen has always been big for us," said Denise Matlack, sales manager, bath fashions.

Prompted by the response to its kitchen lines, especially the applique looks, Barth and Dreyfuss debuted at spring market a new line of coordinating kitchen curtain valances. For the initial offerings, Barth and Dreyfuss introduced 10 patterns, some of which are applique looks. And with the curtains, Barth and Dreyfuss presented coordinating decorative pillows in two sizes and chairpads with table linens and kitchen textiles.

"It did very well for us," Matlack said. "We'll see how it sells, and from there we'll continue to expand the line."

American Fabric Co., based here and known mainly for its table linens, expanded its offerings at April market to include full coordinate sets of kitchen, table and decorative pillow product.

"When it's possible to display it as a complete set, it really works," said Ron Taylor, national sales manager.

And where it's working, apparently, is at the mid-tier stores. Manufacturers think one reason is the nature of the buying system for these retailers. Rather than assign individual buyers to individual categories like many mass retailers do, many mid-tier retailers assign one buyer to focus on domestics or home textiles, making it easier to package a full program as a coordinate instead of merchandising each part separately within the store.

But manufacturers don't deny that, in general, consumers are partial to full coordinates, making the products a sure sell — whether sold separately or as sets.

"We did a focus group last year and learned that the easier we make it for consumers to decorate, the more they are interested in purchasing this product," said Patrick Moyer, vp, marketing, Mohawk Home. "So we started off first coordinating with solid colors, trying to make sure the product flowed naturally from the kitchen to the dining room and from the dining room to the den. Then, once we saw how well that did, we carried it forward with pattern and color and it was received very, very well by consumers."

Moyer did add that while consumers responded favorably to full coordinates, they didn't like "what we call matchy-matchy stuff. They are only looking for product that coordinates but not with the exact same patterns all the way, just with looks that complement each other. You might have a floral pattern in a throw and the pillow might pick up only one element of the throw's pattern on it."

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