• Cecile Corral

Dec pillow makers turn to fashion

Given the current state of the economy, consumers are increasingly more careful of how they spend their discretionary income. And while decorating may not be one of the top priorities, decorative pillow manufacturers are gearing up to give their customers an inexpensive way to revamp the room with much more than just the hum-drum, solid-color pillow for the sofa.

"Because the decorative pillow truly is a fashion accessory for the home, we're elaborating our offerings with richer wovens, stronger patterns, more rustic tones and better quality — all to meet the needs of a broad range of customers," said Jessica Tweedie, product development manager, Portland, OR-based Newport Layton Home Fashions.

Mohawk Home is "doing things a little differently from the past," said Jeff Jacobs, vp and product manager for the textiles division. That means Mohawk is turning its traditional basic solid offering into a product "with more textural and surface appeal."

Before, the company wove on a tapestry creel, which resulted in a flat weave made with cotton and acrylic yarns.

"Now we've added apparel yarns — sweater yarns and chenilles — for more texture," Jacobs said.

Not to mention a plethora of embellishments, including beads, fringes, tassels, sequins, boudoir pillow shapes and bouillon fringes.

"They are selling well, but it's not just that — these new looks get us into a higher distribution channel," Jacobs added. "We're trying to dress it up across all channels of distribution, but with some really expensive fabrics and trends so that we can also service the specialty and department stores."

Special hand-sewn embellishment techniques are being used by manufacturers and importers, including Chattanooga, TN-based Antique Reproductions Inc., which is introducing a velvet pillow line, and New York-based Arlee Group, which has just created a collection of hand-made embroidered and embellished pillows with floral motifs.

New York-based Ashford Court is introducing four new collections of pillows — all made with fine fabrications and special attention to embellishments — that coordinate with its new table linen, throw and window treatment collections.

Among new products by Montgomery, AL-based Riverdale Decorative Products is its new Sensation collection of 100 percent polyester suede pillows embellished with a feather trim.

Griffin, GA-based Natco Products' is offering new black and gold pillows with mitered corners and custom-designed beading and embroidery on a poly-silk construction.

For its new Ribbon Embroidery collection, Louisville Saydah Home Fashions, based here, is "introducing unexpected texture to basic stripes and floral tosses by including French knots and caviar beadwork," said Sally Ann Jacobs, creative director.

Cecile CorralCecile Corral | Senior Product Editor, Home & Textiles Today

Cecile B. Corral has been a product editor with Home Textiles Today since late 2000. She covers the area and accent rug, kitchen textiles, table linens, beach towels, decorative bath and decorative pillow categories, as well as some retail subjects.

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