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New fabrics adorn window coverings

Marvin Lazaro -- Home Textiles Today, October 12, 2001

This market, opinions on what the hottest new patterns, styles and colors are in the world of window coverings may be as diverse as the amount of new products offered. But there may be one common thread that unites soft window coverings manufacturers — texture.

Wendy Keryk, president of Richloom Home Fashions' window division; Carl Goldstein, senior vp of S. Lichtenberg & Co.; and Marcia Weiss, vp, design, windows for Burlington House, all had differing viewpoints on what the next look will be which captures the hearts and minds, and, more importantly, the dollars of consumers. But each also said much more fashion is present in the world of soft window coverings and, conversely, so were many more fabrics that had not previously been thought of as usable for the window.

Goldstein, who felt novelty tier curtains were ready to experience a resurgence, said there is a strong emphasis on more of the popular fashion looks, such as prints and embroideries, and novelty fabrics, such as crushed looks, jacquards, dobbies and silk looks. The plethora of looks was due largely in part to the amount of product now available from other parts of the world at less expensive prices than before.

"Now is the time to put more fashion looks in departments," Goldstein said. "Prices have come down, and the consumers have much more high-priced fashion looks at popular prices available to them now. We're able to bring more fashion to the popular price business."

Keryk said sheers remained an important part of Richloom's window business, and the company planned to introduce a "very diverse line of textured sheers."

"We're paying a lot more attention to the hand of the fabric," she said. "It's all about enticing the consumers to take it home with them. The softer it is, the easier it is to drape, and so it's easier for the consumer to work with it. And that makes it more desirable."

Keryk said window coverings manufacturers' assortments have grown to include many more things, compared to just two years ago. She added that due to the amount of new and exciting product constantly being introduced, consumers have much more to choose from and should, consequently, spend more.

Although Burlington's assortment is based much more on the importance of color, Weiss said the combination of color, pattern and texture provide "maximum versatility for the retailer."

Three of Burlington's new collections for the window feature washed chenille, semi-sheers, linen, crushed sheer prints, rendered damasks, brocaded jacquard sheers and rayons.

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