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CategoriesBella-Dura In the News Indoor/Outdoor Fabric Performance Fabric

ACT’s 2021 Online Auction

A New Philanthropic Event Supporting Textile Education Scholarships

The Association for Contract Textiles will hold an online-only auction during the month of October 2021 to raise funds for textile education scholarships. Bringing together the talents of members, friends and colleagues of ACT, the curated collection will feature original works in a broad selection of craft and fine art techniques including basketry, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, mixed media, jewelry, home décor, furnishings, wearables, and more. In addition, ACT member companies will offer products in the auction. Bidding will be open to the public beginning at Noon EST on October 7 through Midnight EST on October 31, 2021.

Announcing the ACT Gives 2021 Online Art Auction 

A New Philanthropic Event Supporting Textile Education Scholarships

The Association for Contract Textiles will hold an online-only auction during the month of October 2021 to raise funds for textile education scholarships. Bringing together the talents of members, friends and colleagues of ACT, the curated collection will feature original works in a broad selection of craft and fine art techniques including basketry, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, mixed media, jewelry, home décor, furnishings, wearables, and more. In addition, ACT member companies will offer products in the auction. Bidding will be open to the public beginning at Noon EST on October 7 through Midnight EST on October 31, 2021.

The auction’s purpose is three-fold:

  • Celebrate artists, artisans and makers who are members, friends and colleagues of ACT
  • Raise funds for textile design scholarships supporting future talent
  • Build and strengthen connections within and beyond the contract textile community

Proceeds from ACT’s 2021 Online Art Auction will go to the Rhode Island School of Design Endowment Fund, which awards the Association for Contract Textiles Scholarship annually.

ACT Gives

ACT Gives is the official brand of the association’s philanthropic program. The Association for Contract Textiles is committed to supporting textile design, education and vocation. Since 1996, ACT has contributed scholarship funds that benefit textile students at four premier institutions:  California College of the Arts, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, and Thomas Jefferson University (formerly Philadelphia University).

About ACT

The Association for Contract Textiles, founded in 1985, is a professional trade association comprised of companies and individuals involved in the design, development, production, promotion and application of textiles for commercial environments. ACT serves as the definitive resource for contract textile information and education. ACT member companies are among the industry’s most respected leaders. ACT initiatives include the establishment of voluntary performance and environmental guidelines that are represented by the well-known icons that are in ACT’s family of registered certification marks.

IMPORTANT LINKS!

Auction Website: https://ACT2021.givesmart.com

Association Website: https://contracttextiles.org

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/act.org_hq

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/association-for-contract-textiles

AUCTION INFORMATION!

Bidding is open October 7, Noon EST through October 31, Midnight EST

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CategoriesBella-Dura In the News Indoor/Outdoor Fabric Performance Fabric

What’s Hot For Performance Fabrics In 2021?

After a year like 2020, the way we see and use design trends has changed. Once cultivated through travel, cultural experiences, markets and other means that required actually leaving our homes, in the midst of a global pandemic, design trends feel simpler, more rooted in our need to find a haven from the chaos and fear of the world.

“The pandemic has influenced a new outdoor living experience that is defined by warm, cozy and visually appealing spaces that are also functional,” says Greg Voorhis, executive design director, Sunbrella. “Homeowners are taking time to recognize how their indoor style preferences can be reflected outdoors, and vice versa. We are learning to explore the hues and motifs to which we are naturally drawn through new colors, patterns and textures that provide a comfortable and well-designed home environment indoors and out.”

With that in mind, we take a look at some of the major trends influencing performance fabric design for 2021.

Color Cues

Warm neutrals, from brown to warmer grays, as well as white and beige shades, reflect a need for calm and simplicity.

“Everything’s warming up,” says Sarah Keelen, design director, Swavelle/Bella Dura Home. “We’re getting calls for camel and lighter browns. I think gray is still important, but now it’s more half and half with orders of browns and grays, whereas it was all gray before.”

Neutrals and blues—like these from Sunbrella—are big this year.

Another color trend tied to the longing for serenity and wellness? Blues. While always a go-to for the outdoor room, blue is becoming even more versatile with shades like denim, chambray, indigo and turquoise coming into favor.

“Blue families are important,” says Haynes King, product manager, Outdura. “We are getting a great response to a deeper navy color family that we are calling Starry Night.

Other shades to watch out for include nature-inspired greens—think the colors of a vibrant meadow—as well as earthy, orange-infused reds like persimmon.

Pattern Play

With everyone living vicariously through Instagram and other social media channels during the pandemic, eye-catching patterns have grown in prominence.

“How things photograph is becoming more important because you’re seeing everything online,” says Keelan. “In the digital world, people are gravitating to patterns that contrast because they read better online—so we’re selling more black and white.”

Patterns in black and white—like these from Bella Dura Home—have Insta-worthy appeal.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, less eye-popping patterns like subtle stripes or patterns built with slight color variances are also hot. And menswear-inspired looks showed up in several showrooms, such as Para Tempotest, at the ITA Showtime Market in November.

Tempting Texture

The marriage of pattern and texture though the use of novelty yarns and weaving techniques continues to grow in popularity for outdoor spaces.

“In terms of texture, patterns that reflect dimension through intricate weaving processes and bouclé yarns will continue to gain popularity as homeowners look to add depth to their spaces,” says Voorhis.

And textures that offer the same softness and style of indoor fabrics are also in high demand.

“Dry, natural looking textures like a linen slubby look is big,” says Keelen. “And people are still really responding to a soft hand and things that drape well.”

Natural linen textures, like this one from Outdura, have become popular.

COVID Clean

One of the biggest trends in home textiles right now is making performance fabrics in higher demand than ever—bleach-cleanability. With fears of the spread of coronavirus, the ability to sanitize performance fabrics without damage or color fade has become a major selling point.

“That’s all people are asking about,” says Keelen. “It seems more important than the abrasion, the bleach-cleanability.”

And that cleanability is important in both indoor and outdoor spaces.

“Obviously outdoor fabrics need to be cleanable as they are exposed to the elements, but a more casual lifestyle means we are more likely to need to clean indoor fabrics as well,” says King. “Children, pets and frankly, maximizing use because of more folks staying home, bleach-cleanable performance fabrics are more practical and worry-free.”

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CategoriesBella-Dura In the News Indoor/Outdoor Fabric Performance Fabric

How COVID Has Impacted The Fabric Business

Of all the challenges we’ve faced over the past year, the quandary of having too much business  was probably the last thing anyone anticipated. But after COVID-19 lockdowns began to ease in May and June, suddenly everyone seemed to want to update their homes, including the backyard.

Retailers were inundated, filling orders as quickly as possible, clearing much of their inventory. At the same time, supply chain disruptions, material shortages and factory closures put manufacturers and suppliers in a precarious position, unable to meet the growing demand for new product.

And that perfect storm of increased demand coupled with shortages has certainly affected the performance fabric business. While these issues have forced some companies to get creative to keep product moving, others have taken advantage of openings in the market to expand their presence.

Dealing with Disruption

Due to the global nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the effect of shutdowns and quarantines has compounded, with not only American facilities losing weeks or months of production time, but factories closing abroad, as well. This, along with port closures and other logistical issues has meant both products and raw materials have been significantly delayed.

Even companies like Glen Raven/Sunbrella, which has domestic manufacturing facilities, have felt the effect of pandemic-induced supply chain issues.

                      David Swers

“The ongoing pandemic has created disruptions in the global supply chain, which have had an impact on our raw materials supply,” said David Swers, president, Glen Raven Custom Fabrics. “While we have a high degree of vertical integration that enables us to control quality and balance within our own processes, we work closely with key partners on the materials that go into that process.”

Glen Raven has responded by making investments in its global operation including purchasing a new production facility in France and expanding its domestic factory.

“We continue to look for new areas of improvement to better meet the growing demand for our products and our customers’ needs,” said Swers. “As part of our previously announced expansion plans, we are building a novelty yarn mill at our facilities in Burlington, N.C., to increase and stabilize our supply of high-quality yarn for our fabrics. We are making additional investments to improve our systems and expand production capabilities at our plants in the U.S. and abroad to support our manufacturing and retail partners.”

For Swavelle Mill Creek, owners of Bella Dura Home, the timing of the pandemic couldn’t have been more inconvenient. The company relaunched the Bella Dura Home brand in late 2019 with a preview at Casual Market Chicago that year. The company was set for its major rollout to the casual category in 2020—then COVID happened.

“The ball was rolling and things were looking great, and then, boom, the pandemic hit and boom, casual market was canceled,” said David Thomases, executive vice president, Swavelle Mill Creek. “In terms of introducing Bella Dura Home, we hit a bit of a bump in the road, but everyone hit a bump in the road. Our focus became video fabric presentations and Zoom meetings—it was just a different world.”

Outdura has seen disruptions, as well, which have been compounded by increased demand.

Starry Night from Outdura’s Ovation 4

“For us it has hit certain colors of yarns as their popularity grew, but we’ve fortunately continued to weave fabrics throughout the year in our North Carolina facility,” said Haynes King, product manager, Outdura. “We are carefully watching the raw materials issues, which may continue in 2021. Logistics issues, especially around container shipments, are being monitored as well, and plans developed to mediate that risk.”

Creating Opportunity

While COVID-19 disruptions have certainly caused headaches for performance fabric makers, the pandemic also has revealed opportunities for growth and evolution.

Outdura has ramped up its cut yardage program, launching the Ovation 4 book at the November 2020 ITA Showtime Market, offering customers a curated collection of popular styles.

“Cut yardage is becoming a very important part of our business, and we continue to invest in it,” said King. “We launched Modern Textures in 2020, which is a collection of seven patterns offered in nine colors each. This is targeted at providing great body cloth options at competitive prices. Additionally, there is added benefit to being able to ship quickly and offer the flexibility of cut yardage.”

For Swavelle Mill Creek, building the Bella Dura brand looks different from how the company envisioned its rollout, but with a little help from digital tools and the good, old-fashioned postal service, they’re reaching their customers.

                    David Thomases

“It was a bump in the road with the pandemic in introducing the brand, but we’ve made it work, and we’re in the middle of doing some major development work with some outdoor players,” said Thomases. “It’s all custom development, and it’s all done with file transfers and a sample gets sent to our design director’s house and she sends it to the customer’s house—it’s a little different, but we’re learning to work through it.”

Though they’ve experienced some challenges over the past few months, Glen Raven sees this pandemic as an opportunity to make investments and capitalize on a time of unprecedented demand to build an even stronger future.

“With change and challenge come new areas of focus and opportunities for growth,” said Swers. “For example, research shows that spending more time in nature can help combat feelings of stress and anxiety. Anecdotally, recent behaviors show that people are shifting their routines to prioritize more time outdoors. While this concept may sound familiar, people are now taking it to heart as they seek new ways to embrace their surroundings and invest more thoughtfully in an outdoor space that performs year-round.”

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