Beauty, Comfort, Performance
By Mark Brock
Photos: ©2019 Ian Raymond Photographic. www.raymondphoto.com.
When specialty retailers prepare for the 2020 selling season, they’ll find that casual fabric brands are offering what feels like an unlimited range of possibilities. Hundreds of new fabrics are being introduced that encompass performance attributes, beautiful aesthetics, and consumer buying trends, all of which further blur the line between décor inside the home and outdoor living spaces.
The single most dominant trend in casual fabrics for the past several years has been how casual fabrics have attained the same look and feel of fine fabrics you would expect inside the home. At the same time, performance casual fabrics are moving indoors, offering fade resistance, durability, and ease of cleaning for sun-drenched interiors populated with active families with children, pets, and messy adults.
One of the great ironies of the newest casual fabrics is how they are using advanced textiles technology to create fabrics that have the look and feel of handmade artisanal fabrics. Consumers are drawn to these classic looks created through the use of specialty yarns and jacquard and dobby fabric constructions. These fabrics may have all the look and feel of cotton, silk, or wool, but they are all synthetic and engineered to perform. There is also a growing trend of bringing back classic designs of years past with new colorations and pattern tweaks.
In terms of fabric design, texture remains at the top of the list, again created through specialty yarns and advanced fabric formation techniques. The newest casual fabrics offer a range of textures, from the heavy textural to the light. Some observers are suggesting that lighter textures are becoming more in vogue, but textural diversity remains in the newest introductions, some of which is created through optical illusions arising from yarn variations across woven surfaces.
Color trends in the new season build on seasons past. Blue continues as a popular color and green colorways appear to be coming on strong as well. One of the many evolutions in color trends has been with neutrals. First and for many years, it was beige, then came a variety of earth tones followed by the more recent warm gray trend. While beige, earth tones, and gray continue to be popular, the term neutral is being applied to a wide range of solid colors, ranging from blue to coral. Virtually any solid-colored fabric that plays well with other colors can form the background for pops of brighter colors and creative patterns.
Astute fabric designers are not only focused on yarns and weaving, but also on the psychology of fabrics. Discussions of the newest fabrics often trend toward conversations related to lifestyles and the desire of consumers to feel nurtured in their home environments, inside and out, reflecting their own unique personalities and lifestyles. The creativity by fabric designers and the expertise of mill professionals allow ephemeral human qualities to infuse with their fabric creations – comfort, home, wellness, identity, security, and nature.
Sunbrella Dimension Collection Fuses the Familiar with the Unique
Category leading Sunbrella brand fabrics are launching its new Dimension Collection for the coming season, demonstrating the powerful impact that’s possible for home décor when the familiar meets the unique and unexpected.
“Fusing extraordinary plains with unique jacquards, the fabrics of Dimension use color, texture, and pattern to inspire dynamic settings,” said Greg Voorhis, executive design director for Glen Raven Custom Fabrics. “Each of the nine patterns in the Dimension Collection introduces unexpected color combinations, complex weave structures, and striated yarn rotations that create exciting and distinctive textiles for use in everyday spaces.”
In creating the new Dimension Collection, the Sunbrella design team was mindful of ways in which the new fabrics can integrate with and complement existing Sunbrella collections, including Elements, Shift, Makers, and Pure.
“An important trend in home décor today is the creation of authentic and familiar environments by fusing indoor and outdoor spaces and juxtaposing contrasting styles,” Voorhis said. “To create a fresh and updated environment, not everything has to be new. New dimensions of design manifest themselves through layering or repurposing of existing objects with fabric. Fusing extraordinary plains with unique jacquards and unexpected color combinations creates highs and lows offering a range of options, from sophisticated neutrals to fresh and smart.”
Patterns in the new Dimension Collection include:
- Resonate – Contemporary, graphic interpretation of the classic Greek “key” pattern. Bold line-work on fine heathered grounds creates a backlit effect with color that seems to ripple with movement.
- Array – Small-scale yet bold geometric motif illustrating a study in shades. The unexpected mix of color creates highs and lows, accented by an iridescent effect from multi-directional weaving methods.
- Expand – Large-scale repeat stripe in a classic canvas weave. This pattern introduces bright pops of colored accents through irregular striping. Expand complements classic to contemporary palettes.
- Range – Simple block stripe of the same construction as Sunbrella’s Cast fabric. Range coordinates back to some of Sunbrella’s favorite Cast colorations. Heathered warps bring texture to this familiar stripe repeat.
- Scale – Small-scale pinstripe with timeless appeal and color palettes that range from sophisticated neutrals to fresh and smart.
- Extent – Introduces the illusion of a painting or a space-dyed effect. Striations of color in both directions of the fabric create movement and illumination.
- Level – Irregular basket weave updated and elevated through rich, saturated color. Timeless craft is represented through the hand-woven, artisanal feel of the fabric.
- Depth – Sunbrella’s chunkiest weave yet, this fabric features a deep texture and a mix of vegetal and bright tones. Innovative weaving technology brings to life the aesthetic of the handmade.
- Layer – Classic rib energized by alternating solid and strié channels. This pattern mixes many colors together in a single texture, broadening its ability to coordinate in various color groupings.
“Through innovative weaving technology, we’re able to bring to life the aesthetic of the handmade, incorporating various textures from irregular basket weaves, heathered warps, and classic canvas weaves,” Voorhis said. “Complex weave structures and striated yarn rotations create exciting and distinctive textiles with a hand-woven, artisanal feel for use in everyday spaces.”
Tempotest Home Features Three New Collections
Tempotest Home, the Italian-based fabric brand with an American flare, is featuring three new collections that illustrate how performance and beautiful aesthetics have transformed the casual fabrics marketplace. The three new collections are Long Staple (created using newly advanced fiber technology), Velvet (a performance fabric with the sensual hand of velvet) and Fifty-Four (a new line of 54-inch fabrics complementing the existing 60-inch offerings.)
“Performance fabrics that are highly textural and woven with faux-natural yarns are very much in demand,” said Jeff Jimison, National Sales director for Tempotest USA. “Consumers want the rich, inviting look and feel of natural fibers such as cotton and linen without fear of spills and stains. Parà (Tempotest’s parent company) has addressed this desire in a totally new and innovative way to transform synthetics.”
In terms of fiber technology, Tempotest is using long staple solution-dyed acrylic fibers in a worsted system of yarn spinning similar to a woolen yarn. The resulting yarns feature increased resistance to pilling along with a look and feel that mimics a natural fiber fabric. Lunga is a featured long staple pattern.
“As with other solution-dyed acrylics, the fabrics manufactured this way remain colorfast in an outdoor environment and retain their strength after years of exposure to sunlight, and can be cleaned in a multitude of ways including bleach, machine washing, dry cleaning, or simply hosing them off,” Jimison said.
Tempotest’s new velvet fabric collection is being offered in 15 colors, from rich neutrals to jewel tones with the colors deep and richly saturated. These new velvet fabrics are luxurious yet offer the same easy living and cleaning of a solution-dyed acrylic fabric. Vendicari is a featured pattern in the new velvet collection.
The new Tempotest Home Fifty-Four Collection encompasses 31 new up-the-roll stripes and solid colors in a time-honored, eight-ounce canvas. This weave is highly durable but is still supple to the touch due to Parà’s use of finer count yarns. The new collection is available in both cuts and rolls and warehoused in the U.S.
Link Outdoor Vista Collection Melds Performance with Natural Fiber Look and Feel
Link Outdoor has launched its new Vista Collection featuring classic neutrals with the luxurious hand that homeowners typically associate with wool, cotton and silk. This new collection continues Link’s focus on creating sophisticated fabrics that can be used anywhere in the home, inside or out, for casual, worry-free living.
“These new textiles offer comfort, durability, and sophistication,” said Greyson Kirby, Link Outdoor’s director of Textile Design. “My goal for this collection was to create a timeless palette and range of textiles that you would never expect to be pet friendly or survive an evening with friends and a bottle of red wine.
The new Vista Collection encompasses a variety of neutrals and textured fabrics for every surface of the home from window treatments to heavier upholstery fabrics for sectionals or sofas as well as faux-leather options for banquettes and other seating. Featured patterns include:
- Barracuda – This synthetic faux leather offers the rich hand of leather while providing a marine-grade surface that’s outdoor appropriate. In adding this vinyl to the collection, Link expanded its range of textures to include the appearance of a natural hide but with the benefits of a performance off-the-bolt textile.
- Panorama – A new pinstripe sheer, Panorama was designed to appeal to clients looking for a high-quality window treatment suitable for spaces with exposure to the natural elements. The colors merge beautifully with neutral indoor palettes and offer a hint of saturation with Periwinkle and Spa yarns.
- Zephyr – Zephyr is a jacquard fabric with a two-tone structure that results in a peekaboo pattern from different angles and in different lights. It’s meant to create a subtle movement for the eye in restful colors that could be perfect for side chairs or an entire sofa.
- Nantucket – A plush terry-cloth boucle that would be perfect in a cozy arm chair to cuddle up and read a book on a rainy afternoon on the porch. This pattern proves rich, dense textures of solution-dyed acrylic for year-round, easy comfort that’s sophisticated and not just for outdoor use.
- Eclipse – This fabric features a heathered two-tone lightweight curtain quality with a pressed finish and supple drape, rounding out Link’s sheer collection with a heavier quality that will block out most of the light. The cool colors and pressed yarns give it the perfect ‘summer wool’ effect without the heaviness or yellow tones expected from a natural fiber.
- Carmel – This chenille with a subtle two-tone effect offers the soft hand of velvet but with the easy-cleaning feature of a performance textile.
According to Kirby, the design possibilities for performance fabrics are virtually limitless, enabling designers to create a broad assortment of colors, patterns, and textures that are on-trend for today’s consumers.
“The wide range of novelty yarns now available allows for blends of colors that are more subtle than the outdoor palette used to be,” Kirby said. “Pale blues mix well with silver tones that can carry a color scheme from a living room to a portico and then brighten up with deeper cobalt palettes on a patio or poolside.
“Blush and melon have become new neutrals that pair perfectly with many island tones and stucco finishes,” she continued. “I think that’s a trend we’ll continue to see evolve as they evoke the warmth and comfort of the sun in any space. Specialty retailers can capitalize on these trends by layering unexpected combinations of texture you would only expect to see from indoor fabrics with brighter pops of color that link together indoor and outdoor spaces in a home.”
Based in Dallas, Link Outdoor was founded in 2008 by Eugene Freeland, a veteran of the performance textiles industry. Link Outdoor specializes in luxury outdoor fabric and furniture, collaborating with award winning designers and manufacturers around the world. The company is represented in showrooms in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, Mexico and Russia.
Outdura Going Tribal with its New ‘Arrow’ Fabric Pattern
Outdura brand fabrics are venturing into new territory for the coming casual fabrics season, launching the fabric pattern, “Arrow,” which adds to the brand’s depth in elegantly woven jacquard fabrics that combine distinctive aesthetics with proven performance.
“Arrow is our first tribal jacquard design with a native flair that is quite eye catching,” said Gloria Tsocos, Design manager for Outdura fabrics. “We created this pattern by using a weaving technique that enhances depth and saturation of color in the design. The overall hues are created with a combination of light pastels and earth tones that pair perfectly to create a breathtaking design suitable for any outdoor environment. Arrow will be available in eight stunning colors.”
Other new pattern offerings from Outdura include:
- Paddock Stripe – Paddock Stripe is Outdura’s bold new stripe that was designed to complement a wide variety of outdoor fabric ensembles.
- Domino – Domino, also a jacquard pattern, was inspired by bold geometric structures. This crisp design will complement any outdoor space. Domino is available in 15 distinct colors.
- Storm – Storm is an Outdura body cloth with a unique design element utilizing novelty yarns to create a distinctive look. Storm is available in 17 colors.
Also highlighting Outdura brand fabrics for 2020 is the addition of a new green called “Reseda.”
“We’ve had great responses to this particular hue,” Tsocos said. “We’ve colored patterns, both jacquards and dobbies, with this fresh new green. It’s an earthy green that complements not only neutrals, but also blues, yellows, and terracotta.”
Introducing ‘Metropolis’ – A Sunbrella Collection by Silver State Fabrics
For the 2019 and 2020 seasons, Silver State is featuring “Metropolis,” a new collection described as “vibrant sophistication with clean looks, fresh color combinations, and fun, energetic patterns featuring plenty of subtle texture.”
“Metropolis is the summation of our annual eﬀort to offer a collection beyond the ordinary,” said Manoli Sargetakis, principal with Silver State. “As I travel the country, I search for what people are wanting more of but not ﬁnding enough of. Residential design is starting to show a bolder conﬁdence in which the hospitality segment is at the forefront.”
Patterns in the Metropolis Collection, which is constructed with Sunbrella brand performance yarns, include:
- Wicked – Playfully-angled triangles with an occasional metallic splash of PVC-coated Sunbrella yarn. For this pattern Silver State visualized sky-high penthouse homes of the “wickedly wealthy.” Available in two colorways.
- Cityscape – Best described as Morse code in a small-scale pattern, Cityscape is a very lively pattern with a workable repeat and can be run in either direction. This pattern merges whimsy with a sharpness that appeals to a sense of order. Offered in five colors.
- Murphy – Murphy is Silver State’s interpretation of a pin stripe and designed as a “go-with” pattern, complementing a wide array of other patterns and solids. Murphy is offered in an expansive assortment of 12 colors for an eclectic look of South Beach and the Hamptons.
- Liam – Liam is also a “go-with” pattern comfortable in virtually any setting. It’s small in scale and in repeat and can be applied in any direction. Destined to be among classic patterns, Liam is available in four colors.
- Impact – As its name makes clear, the Impact pattern was created to make a splash in any setting. Large in scale and vivacious in design, Silver State colored this pattern adventurously with the intention of creating a fabric sure to be a conversation piece. Available in four colors.
- Central Park – This pattern is Silver State’s mid-scale geometric with contemporary overtones. Expect the “cool kids” to be drawn to this pattern that’s both hip and approachable with an easy-to-use pattern, ideal for coordinating with Silver State’s existing Jedi offering. Available in three colors.
“In terms of trends, blue is continuing to increase in popularity to the point that it’s being considered a neutral,” Sargetakis said. “Stronger and brighter colors pair well with blue, including aqua, teal, and royal blue. We are also seeing increased interest in softer hues such as coral, and more natural greens that coordinate or contrast well with white or gray.”
According to Sargetakis, texture is also an important design trend, but in more subtle forms than chenille or terry-cloth.
“Solid, ﬂat canvas looks will always be a mainstay, but the homeowner who wants to distinguish herself is looking for a softer hand, a nub of texture, and more color. Whether it’s a boucle as an accent to a stripe, or a woven pattern with thicker yarns, a soft hand is always a prerequisite.”
Phifer Debuts New Collections for Phifertex and GeoBella Fabric Lines
Phifer is debuting two new collections for its Phifertex and GeoBella casual furniture lines for the 2019-2020 seasons. Phifertex is the industry-leading sling fabric collection, noted for design innovation and strength, while GeoBella, which is woven from recycled Olefin yarns, encompasses an environmental point of view.
“The new collections, ‘Street Style’ and ‘Now and Zen,’ were influenced by nature, technology, and human health,” said Monica Thornton, Design director for Phifer. “Our 2019-2020 outdoor color collections pair vibrant and mindful hues that express the emotions and the values of today’s consumers.”
Phifer’s Street Style Collection is for those seeking bold color and free-spirited living. Rooted in technology and influenced by modern living, this palette features bold pops of Persian blue, aqua, coral, gray, and navy. Strong geometrics and transitional patterns are key design elements for these attention-seeking hues. Pushing the boundaries of color and design, this enthusiastic assortment brings a maximum approach yet produces harmonious outdoor living.
Patterns in the Street Style Collection include Kama Multicolor (kaleidoscopic influenced geometric GeoBella jacquard); Kozo Jewel Blue (horizontally multi-textured PVC sling fabric in monochromatic blues); Kimble Coral (transitional Nordic inspired GeoBella jacquard pattern); Pasadena Coral (bold and playful geometric PVC sling fabric, in bright white and coral); Aura Dark Shadow (intertwining hexagon lattice in heather gray and black) and Prestige Skyline (sleek low texture PVC blend sling fabric.)
Phifer’s Now and Zen Collection features atmospheric and moody hues that embrace the connection of nature and human health. Muted and layered mid-tones of slate blue, Muscadine, pale blue-gray, and stone are introspective and help to heal mind and body. These profoundly calming color combinations will be essential for 2020 as they foster inclusion, preservation, wellness, and self-love.
Patterns in the Now and Zen Collection include Chandler Muscadine (transitional lattice-style GeoBella jacquard great for layering with other patterns); Jewel Steel Gray (lightly textured woven PVC sling jacquard in inviting neutrals and gray); Prestige Mist (subtle and sleek PVC blend sling fabric in a sultry blue-gray); Emory Stripe Slate (softly variegated transitional GeoBella jacquard stripe in muted mid-tones); Interlock Linen (high texture sea grass inspired PVC wicker sling fabric in mineral inspired neutrals); Marvel Slate (modern Bohemian inspired GeoBella jacquard in muted slate and Muscadine).
In addition to the new fabric collections, Phifer is introducing several new colors, including Agave (muted introspective blue-green); Rose (warm and friendly, feminine pink); Gingerbread (confident earthy red-brown); Sunnyside (optimistic and cheery yellow) and Tiffany Blue (crisp and inviting blue-green.)
“Color Trends this season emphasize our connection to creativity and our need for human compassion,” Thornton said. “As we seek balance and focus, we look for colors that are inclusive, perceptive, and authentic. We see blue-greens and blues continuing to be important in both muted and clean variations. Blue-gray is becoming more important this season and is being seen as the color of stability and balance. Yellow and mint blue are appealing to younger consumers this season as they are seeking optimism.
In terms of design, casual fabric companies are being challenged to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse customer base, according to Thornton:
“Diversity continues to push design trends for 2020, and there simply has to be something for everyone. Transitional geometric styles continue to be important for us while modern Bohemian and handcrafted styles are gaining more attention with our younger consumers. There is no middle ground on texture as it is equally diverse. Texture is slowly moving to a more subtle version. Low texture and sleek weaves are surfacing more in all industries. We are also seeing super chunky textures that look hand woven. Gradient and optic texture are continuing for this season, and flat and matte colors are beginning to replace sheen.”
New Bella-Dura Fabrics Blur the Lines Between Indoor and Outdoor Fabrics
You can consider it the best of both worlds when you review the newest casual fabrics, including new introductions by Bella-Dura.
“One of the strongest trends we see today is how the performance aspects of outdoor fabrics are being brought indoors, and how the design aesthetic of indoor fabrics is being taken outside,” said Orlando Peralta, director of Hospitality Design for Wearbest Weavers, the makers of Bella-Dura fabrics. “This trend reflects what consumers want in the fabrics they buy for their homes.”
In terms of design, Peralta sees a continued trend of homeowners seeking out fabrics that are based on traditional motifs, such as plaid and flora, but with an updated aesthetic. There are also psychological factors at play in how fabrics are being designed and manufactured, he said.
“The Danish concept of “hygge” – a word associated with well-being and feelings or moments that are cozy or special – heavily influences textures as we focus on creating comfort. We are achieving this feeling of comfort through finishing and the use of all types of boucle, slub, and heathered yarns.”
Bella-Dura’s latest collection focuses on a decorative feel with fashion-forward colors, while offering the performance demanded of casual fabrics. New fabrics for the 2020 season include:
- Chimera – Heavily textured yarns and a decorative deflective weave give this pattern a distinctive textural effect.
- Brighton – This pattern is a bold and chunky cotton-like stripe with fresh and vibrant colors.
- Everglade – Simplicity with a touch of a playful metallic yarn results in an upholstery fabric that is chic with a sophisticated aesthetic.
- New Castle – Subtle textured weaves and an array of crisp bright colors that complement each other give this pattern a fresh take on the traditional plaid.
- Tennessee – A combination of multi-textured yarns, weaves, and a subtle strié infuses this pattern with dimension and flow.
Pindler’s Sunbelievable Collection Well Positioned for Inside and Out
Pindler’s Sunbelievable Collection is designed for any indoor or outdoor setting with a modern and vibrant look. The collection features a myriad of fresh and bright colorways, woven in solution-dyed acrylic and solution-dyed polyester yarns that make them easy care, fade-resistant, and bleach cleanable.
Patterns in the collection include Newport (fresh, all-over, small-scale floral design); Piermont (intricate interlocking geometric design in a usable upholstery scale); Flowerfield (midscale, multi-colored, floral design); Tulips (two-color floral design with a transitional design appeal); Richfield (updated interpretation of a traditional large-scale damask design) and Awning (classic bold stripe design woven with textural yarns and available in 12 colors.)
In terms of design trends, Pindler reports a more decorative direction overall with the use of elaborate trims, embellishments, motifs, and the look of handcrafted textiles. Not only are these elements being used as a focal point, but they’re also being layered to create a warm, detailed space full of character. Design specialists at Pindler are also forecasting a trend toward a more traditional aesthetic with classics feeling new again with a fresh take on color.
In terms of color trends, Pindler highlighted these color directions:
- Capitalize on Coral – Pantone named “Living Coral” the 2019 color of the year. While typically seen as an accent or pop-of-color, coral is taking the center stage as a catalyst for design. With its vivid warm tones, it brightens rooms with its vibrant hues and pairs beautifully with all neutrals and warm and cool colors.
- Deep in the Evergreens – Earthy, calming, dark shades of green are on the rise in the design market. In hues ranging from natural pine to jewel-like emeralds, green is making a big comeback. The key to this trend is the cast, which is leaning toward blue. Often used as a dramatic focal point, these dark greens are also being applied as an overall room scheme.
- Must have Mink – The days of cool gray tones are fading, and warmer neutrals are emerging such as the color Mink. A warmer approach to gray, Mink harmonizes well with neutrals and colors and truly transforms its cast depending on what it’s paired with.
Leading Trends in Casual Fabrics for 2020
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