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Alternative looks drive sales growth

Marvin Lazaro, Staff Staff -- Home Textiles Today, April 15, 2002

Although jacquards and deep colors are sure to remain as home textiles staples for some time to come, manufacturers and suppliers of bedding have turned toward other constructions which use fabrics and brighter colors not traditionally seen to drive sales in the category.

Pillowtex, Dan River, WestPoint Stevens and Springs all have introduced ensembles with lighter color but in also lighter constructions. Pillowtex, for instance, unveiled a variety of beds for its Royal Velvet brand which use stria texture, crushed rayon-acetate, woven chenille, ombre plaid, shiny cording and velvet as various parts of the top-of-bed. Colors ranged from several bright shades of blue to bronze, red and purple to brown, terra cotta gold and green. Capping off the Pillowtex introductions was its pillow slip, a shiny, jewel-tone sheer pillowcase in many shades which ties into every new Royal Velvet bed.

"I would really call it the paring down of things," said Gretchen Dale, senior vp of design and new product development for the Kannapolis, NC-based Pillowtex. "Beds are simpler and colors are simpler. The newer look is less stuff and fewer trappings. It's a cleaner, uncluttered look."

Springs' introductions were just as eclectic. Its new Craftique collection features menswear stripes, crochet edging and eyelash blocks while many of the beds in other collections use a variety of constructions for a number of looks and styles. Colors range from a crisp blue and white to lavender, aqua and teal.

"I think things are taking on a very handcrafted look," said Springs vp of design, Nancy Webster. "There's lot of attention to detail now and lots of softness and I think that ties back into people seeing their homes as a refuge."

According to Sandy McNeil, Hollander Home Fashions' senior vp of fashion bedding, the trend in colors is toward "very rich neutrals." The trend in construction, she felt, has stemmed from the recent resurgence and growing popularity of quilts.

"I think it's a natural transition which used the overwhelming success of the casual quilt looks and adapted them to more formal master bedroom looks," McNeil said. "Anything that makes ensembles more interesting in terms of piecing or interesting trims or using more unusual fabrics is definitely a trend."

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