This eye-catching medallion was inspired by handpainted Spanish tiles. The elegant motif is woven on a vibrant textural ground that replicates the variation that occurs with paint on ceramic.
Inside the Blueprint has featured Bella-Dura on their show as we strive to create our fabrics in the USA. Bella-Dura is a popular brand and you may even have Bella Dura products in your home, RV, or business without even knowing!
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Creating harmony between beauty and performance, the 2020 collection from Bella-Dura HOME introduced a softer, more decorative look that is ideal for… Read More
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
“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.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
HIGH POINT — As the popularity of performance fabrics grows indoors, the differences and demands for outdoor vs. indoor features and looks continue to blur, too.
Culp observed the trend about two years ago when it undertook the soft launch of its own outdoor line, Livesmart Outdoor. The company had been seeing great success with its indoor performance fabric line, Livesmart, so it decided to move back to the performance fabric category’s outdoor roots.
“People loved Livesmart, so it was a natural next step for us to create Livesmart Outdoor both for our customers looking to make outdoor pieces and for the many folks who just prefer the extra protection provided by outdoor-safe fabrics,” said Tammy Buckner, senior vice president of design and marketing for Culp. “The lines are very similar, and our outdoor product is being used on indoor pieces quite often.”
But if the look and use of indoor and outdoor fabrics are shared, what even makes the difference between indoor and outdoor fabrics? Primarily, fabric sources say, it’s the fabrics’ definitions of performance.
“‘Performance’ is such a common word, and there is no official criteria you have to meet to call your fabric performance, so it can be a bit confusing,” explained Sarah Keelen, design director for outdoor and performance for Swavelle, parent company of performance fabric brand Bella-Dura. “But the one thing all performance fabrics tout is their easy cleanability. However, not all performance fabrics are appropriate for outdoor use.”
From the array of “performance” definitions, a handful of qualities almost always arise in some mixed form: durability, cleanability, water repellency and fade resistance.
For fabrics used outdoors, those qualities are more important, as performance features need to go well past just offering cleanability to perform. Outdoor environments require that performance fabrics offer significantly higher lightfastness and durability rates, and many put an emphasis on water resistance.
“Everyone knows a lot more happens outdoors, so to keep outdoor fabrics fresh, they have to be made for lots of sun, rain, snow and more,” said Christy Almond, vice president of product development and marketing for Valdese Weavers. “There are a lot of elements to contend with.”
But just because a piece of fabric may not face those exact conditions indoors does not mean those outdoor features go unused. Inside, water resistance translates into extra protection for spills, and durability and high fade resistance can add to the lifespan and overall quality of the fabric.
And fabric manufacturers such as Valdese Weavers, Sunbrella, Richloom Fabrics and Bella-Dura Home already cross-market performance fabric brands for indoor and outdoor use.
“Features that are usually associated with the outdoors, like fade resistance, are still beneficial,” said Almond. “If you have a sofa with an outdoor fabric on it, you can put it in a sunroom without worry or in front of a large window. And if the fabric is waterproof cleaning a spill inside or out is even simpler.”
Through the COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor cleanability has become even more important to Valedese Weavers’ Insideout brand, too. Culp and Bella-Dura Home have seen similar questions come from customers during the pandemic, both from consumers and retailers who have also begun more regularly cleaning furniture on their showrooms floors.
“We’ve had a lot of inquiries about bleach cleanability during the pandemic because people are being extra careful,” said Almond. “People wanted to be sure that regular cleanings with different chemicals wouldn’t compromise their fabrics’ colors or feel.”
To meet that information need, Valdese Weavers doubled down on testing its pieces’ cleanability in February, ultimately releasing updated information on the best ways to disinfect and clean its fabric pieces with cleaning products such as Lysol sprays and diluted bleach.
Outdoor design trends
Almond noted that, outside of performance features, the success of indoor/outdoor brands is in large part related to both technological advancements, making way for more advanced and textural outdoor-safe fabrics, and the outdoor room design trend, which has led many to invest in their outdoor spaces and furniture pieces.
“Now more than ever people are merging what outdoor and indoor spaces look like while trying to create some cohesiveness in their homes, especially with open concept living,” said Almond. “We are seeing a lot of the same trends indoors come outside, but we are still seeing some of the more playful patterns for outdoors, too.”
Specifically for Valdese Weavers, classic prints like gingham in trending colors have done well both indoors and out, calling back the look of a traditional picnic blanket and updating the motif with seasonal colors. Warm neutrals and more artisan textiles continue to trend for the company in both settings, along with blues and grays, which have been trending for several years.
Newer to the mix is bold combinations of black-and-white or neutral, and a full spectrum of green shades, from kelly to teal green, that pair up with a resurging interest in botanicals both in patterns and home decor in general.
At Culp, designs for Livesmart and Livesmart Outdoor are also very similar to each other, with the decision Buckner and her team to share looks and color palettes between the two lines having been informed by earlier trips to Salon del Mobile and Maison & Objet as well as the ongoing coronavirus.
“People are really looking for casual comfort during this time,” explained Buckner. “People are spending so much more time at home that they are looking to be comfortable, and they are looking for that inside their homes and outside now, too.”
While COVID-19 “pushed the trend to the next level,” Buckner said the outdoor room trend had been growing for a while before, with design shows like Maison & Objet dedicating trend displays to seamlessly blending indoor and outdoor pieces and materials.
Translating that blend into Livesmart Outdoor, Buckner said the company is approaching both brands with the same styles and themes, focusing on eclectic looks, boucles, chenilles and similar color palettes. Between the lines, Buckner said that, without a tag differentiating the two, people would not be able to tell the difference between them.
“We’re using a lot of light body plains all over on like sofas, in light or white, with black or dark java pillows. Really, block prints are just really huge right now. … Simple stripes mixed in with simple, small geometric have been important, too.”
Clean lines and, more specifically, a move away from the traditional florals and loud colors associated with outdoor looks have defined Livesmart Outdoor’s offerings.
Different spaces, different uses
Sunbrella approaches its fabrics with a little more emphasis on designing for both spaces separately, having divided its indoor- and outdoor-focused fabrics into divisions with separate marketing and design pushes, while still recognizing that both groups can go indoors or out.
“We design with aesthetics in mind, so when we approach an outdoor space its more about color and having more saturated, lively color,” said Sarah Dooley, marketing director for upholstery at Glen Raven. “That being said, we have seen trends over the past few years where you kind of have that sense that neutrals are moving outside as well as they are inside, and that’s reflected throughout. We really try to meet what the market wants.”
Dooley said that the design team at Sunbrella has had to adjust its thought process to help mimic indoor looks as they have seen people begin approaching outdoor design like they would the rest of their home. Neutrals have come into fashion in a big way outdoors, with pops of color and pattern being allocated to smaller pieces as accents, just as it has inside.
For texture, being sensitive to the different uses of fabrics indoors and out has been key, according to Dooley, as she noted that the sofa fabric you want to cuddle up with inside should feel different from the fabric on your outdoor lounger.
Keeping in mind the overall differences between indoor and outdoor design has been key to Bella-Dura Home’s approach, too.
“There is a real difference in the looks people buy for indoor verses outdoor use, which comes down to the environment the fabric will be used in,” said Keelen. “A typical outdoor space may be surrounded by trees, flowers, a pool, deck or patio — all of which provide a lot of texture. … To balance all of this textural interest, fabrics are usually more paired down than indoor ones.”
Indoors, Keelen said fabrics have more wiggle room because texture is created by what is put in the room. Additionally, Keelen noted that outdoor fabrics often make use of more bright colors and contrasting patterns because of the natural light whereas indoors these colors can “overwhelm a space and people make much subtler choices.”
“I think the indoor outdoor lifestyle is something that will continue, even more so now given the current situation,” noted Dooley, adding, “We are all focusing on ways to stay on trend while also remaining timeless in both spaces.”
Though some states may be beginning to reopen, the fight against the coronavirus will continue for months to come. Last month, we began compiling a list of brands that are giving back—and since then, we’ve been heartened to watch the ranks swell considerably.
In a profound display of community, design industry businesses have been pitching in to support the medical sector’s COVID-19 relief efforts with sales and fundraisers, special events, and by manufacturing protective gear like masks, gowns and face shields. To tally every contribution is an impossible task, but through the dozens of initiatives included here, we’re thrilled to celebrate industry leaders doing their part to contribute during this crisis.
Editor’s note: The article has been continuously updated since it was originally published on April 6, 2020. The most recent additions to the list are denoted with an arrow (→).
SALES THAT GIVE BACKThese brands are donating a portion of their proceeds to organizations that are on the front lines of the coronavirus fight. Start shopping!
→ ABDB Cares
The award-winning furniture studio ABDB Designs has launched a new initiative, where 100 percent of sales from its exclusive ABDB Cares resin coaster set will be donated to Frontline Foods and Free Arts NYC.
Ann Gish & The Art of Home
Retailer Ann Gish is donating 30 percent of all online sales to The Red Cross and Doctors without Borders. The brand continues to sew face masks from its fabrics, donating them to the ICU team at NY Presbyterian Hospital.
Save the date! No matter what kind of client you’re pitching, many of the sales and customer service strategies you employed pre-COVID have no place in your toolkit now. In BOH’s next Community Discussion on Monday, May 11, we’ll be hosting a wide-ranging conversation with Crans Baldwin, Chuck Chewning and Marika Meyer about finding ways to add value for your clients and why relationships matter more than ever.
→ Bend Goods
The Los Angeles–based wire furniture company is offering 30 percent off its online sales, donating a portion of the proceeds to Project Angel Food, a nonprofit organization that is providing free, nutritious meals to the local community.
The Los Angeles–based company that offers made-to-order window treatments is currently offering 30 percent off all orders, and will donate a portion of sales to the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank and the L.A. Emergency COVID-19 Crisis Fund. Everhem also plans to donate to the two COVID-19 relief funds set up by Gates Philanthropy Partners.
The wholesale marketplace Faire is selling all face masks at 0 percent commission until June 8 to ensure that retailers can get essential safety supplies to their communities. All masks are being featured in a special collection on the homepage of its website—as of May 8, over 200 makers are selling masks on the platform.
→ Flavor Paper
The wallcoverings brand Flavor Paper has launched “Positive Feedback,” a new fundraising initiative to support restaurants, health care workers and communities during the COVID-19 crisis. Now through May 31, Flavor Paper will donate 25 percent of website sales from its city-themed toiles category to East Bay FeedER and Frontline Foods.
→ Madame Malachite
The home decor and accessories brand Madame Malachite will donate 15 percent of all online sales to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
The ethically made home goods brand announces the launch of its sustainable masks in response to COVID-19. For every mask purchased, the brand will donate a mask to a New York shelter for women with mental health disorders experiencing homelessness.
The New York–based furniture company will relaunch its COVID-19 relief charity auction in partnership with the Mayor’s Fund To Advance New York City. The company will host the auction on Instagram starting on May 11 at 9 a.m. EST. All of the proceeds went directly to feed front-line staff in the New York health care system.
→ Ortho Mattress
From May 10 to 17, Ortho Mattress is holding a one-for-one sale: For every mattress purchased, the company will donate one to a COVID-19 frontline worker.
For all of April and May, the cushions brand Pillow Pops is committing 10 percent of sales to No Kid Hungry to help provide meals to vulnerable children away from school.
The Seattle-based textile company Plover is making Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)–certified organic cotton masks from its fabric scraps. The masks are being sold in packs of two online and via Instagram DM—for every unit sold, Plover will donate a two-pack to medical professionals in need.
→ Revival Rugs
In honor of National Nurses Week (May 6 to 12) and National EMS Week (May 17 to 23), Revival Rugs has announced a 20 percent discount to all health care workers through May 25 as a gesture of gratitude.
Serta Simmons Bedding
Serta Simmons Bedding, the parent company of Serta, Beautyrest and Tuft & Needle, committed to donating 10,000 mattresses to New York City hospitals and medical facilities that are facing shortages of hospital beds. They’ve also launched the ‘Stay Home, Send Beds’ initiative to facilitate bed donations for hospitals. Anyone who wishes can purchase a bed to be distributed in whichever U.S. city they choose. For every 25 beds that are donated, Serta will donate another on top of the 10,000 it has already committed.
→ Southern Guild The Southern Guild has launched “Closer, Still,” a group art exhibition to benefit those most vulnerable in South Africa during the COVID-19 crisis. Until May 9, 30 percent of sales from works sold will be donated to Afrika Tikkun, a nonprofit that has provided education, health and social services in South African townships for over 25 years.
→ Stark & The House of Scalamandré
For a limited time, Stark and The House of Scalamandré have brought their iconic prints to a collection of face masks. In addition to the medical mask donated for every purchase, the brands will match an additional 10 percent of all sales, donating the funds to the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club.
TAKING INITIATIVEIndustry names are doing what they can to fill community needs, locally, nationally and globally.
For textile manufacturers making masks or gowns, the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists is now offering free tests to determine whether the fabrics being used are medical grade.
→ Benjamin Moore
In collaboration with the Painting Contractors Association, Benjamin Moore has pledged to underwrite participation costs for the PCA’s Operation COVID-19 Response, an eight-week online conference aiming to provide strategies and resources to painting contractors. With the help of Benjamin Moore, both PCA members and non-members will be able to take advantage of this virtual training.
With the majority of employees based in The Garden State, the company has also donated $100,000 to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey and Frontline Foods, providing nearly 230,000 meals to residents and health care workers throughout the state. In its Newark facility, Benjamin Moore has leveraged its production resources to manufacture hand sanitizer for donation. These bottles were delivered to the New Jersey State Police for distribution among the essential medical professionals in hospitals and health care facilities across the state.
→ The Company Store
The bedding and bath material supply company has donated over 10,000 units (worth $1.2 million) of its bedding product to be made into over 500,000 masks for health care workers.
→ East Fork
After the ceramics company concluded its “Gift a Mug” campaign, it went on to launch a series of weekly raffles with the goal of raising $100,000 for social justice-focused organizations. Their current raffle is supporting the Asheville City Schools Foundation, and their final raffle will launch this Thursday.
The Fermob dealer network in the U.S. has been quietly supporting its local community through charity efforts and donated time. While some are giving directly through grassroots initiatives, others have developed their own fundraising efforts to help those most vulnerable during this time.
→ Fireclay Tile
The San Francisco–based tile company has created a child care fund program as part of the “Give, You Get” initiative to help workers subsidize child care costs.
The Formica Corporation has pledged to donate up to 500,000 meals to Feeding America food banks nationwide through its Lunch & Learn program. Now, for every video view through April 30, the company will donate 10 meals to Feeding America food banks.
GoodWeave, the leading nonprofit working to end forced, bonded and child labor in global supply chains, has launched the COVID-19 Child and Worker Protection Fund to deliver humanitarian aid and services to vulnerable populations in India, Nepal and Afghanistan. The fund is focusing its reach to aid marginalized workers and children in producer communities.
Lighting and ceiling fan company Hinkley has donated 500 ceiling fan units to first responders and volunteers in the fight against COVID-19.
→ ‘Your Home Collaboration’
In an effort to support front-line medical professionals, Anna Maria Mannarino, former president of ASID’s New Jersey Chapter, has launched “Your Home Collaboration.” The initiative urges interior designers to provide free design consultations to the COVID-19 workforce, either virutally or in person at a later date. Those interested in donating their services, or those wishing to nominate a medical professional for the program, can do so here.
VIRTUAL CAMPAIGNSCompanies are finding innovative ways to stay connected online—and make a difference in the process.
The design and architecture PR firm Novità launched the campaigns #DesignStandsTogether and #OneWithItaly on March 12 as a way of uniting the industry through bright news amidst the COVID-19 headlines.
The nonprofit organization Be Original Americas is launching its #DoingWellByDoingRight campaign on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook to advocate for design authenticity, spotlighting members that are making an impact with design.
Forty One Madison’s #TableTogether
From Forty One Madison comes #TableTogether, a social initiative launched as a response to New York’s canceled Tabletop Market. For every photo posted on Instagram with the tag, Forty One Madison will purchase a gift card to a restaurant in Flatiron district. Each person who posts, registers and attends the next New York Tabletop Market will be able to claim a gift card.
→ Garnet Hill
The retail brand has not only donated 50 sets of organic cotton sheets for face mask production, but it has also promised to match up to $1 million in customer and team member donations to Meals on Wheels and No Kid Hungry.
In addition to sewing masks for senior homes across the Pacific Northwest, the brand launched its #BetterDaysWithRatana campaign to share its clients’ favorite projects that speak to happier times in the industry.
Southern Studio Simplified
The Cary, North Carolina–based firm has launched a new design program called Southern Studio Simplified. This exclusive opportunity will help clients tackle smaller projects through virtual consultations—each week, the design team will focus on a different topic, ranging from gallery walls and home offices to color choices and kids’ rooms. For every consultation scheduled during the course of the coronavirus pandemic, the Southern Studio team pledges one hour of volunteer service to the local Cary community.
The Brooklyn-based custom upholstery platform is not only making masks, but has also launched a site that connects able sewers with hospitals in need, as well as an accompanying Facebook page to field questions and foster community.
Westchester Mask Making Campaign
In collaboration with Plaza Park Interiors in Mamaroneck and Amy Interiors in Eastchester, Patricia O’Shaughnessy Design in Bronxville is coordinating a grassroots effort to facilitate the sewing, making and distribution of masks and personal protective equipment for New York hospitals and health care facilities. In addition to calling for cotton fabric donations and volunteer services, the campaign has started a GoFundMe page where monetary donations can be made to support sewers in the workrooms.
THE INDUSTRY MASK-FORCEIndustry manufacturers are pivoting their production facilities to make medical supplies. They deserve a standing ovation—not only for their donations, but also for the employees who have committed to helping their communities.
In the words of the Dallas-based manufacturer, “We may not be making furniture at the moment due to the COVID-19 crisis; however, we’re busy making masks and gowns each week for people on the front lines.” In addition to donating face masks to health care workers, American Leather launched a new website for consumers to buy masks.
Appleton Partners LLP
The Santa Monica, California–based architecture firm has risen to the occasion and begun 3-D printing reusable plastic face masks for local hospitals and medical facilities.
The family-owned home furnishings retailer is utilizing its resources to make masks for medical groups, first responders, health care providers and other community members.
The North Carolina–based upholstery and leather company Aria Designs has secured funding from CIT Group to tap into its global supply chain and manufacturers to bring N95 surgical masks to health care facilities across the state.
Austin’s Couch Potatoes
On March 20, the Texas-based furniture store and manufacturer began sewing face masks and hospital gowns to help fill the shortages presented by the spread of COVID-19. The company is partnering with Austin Disaster Relief Network to get the supplies to those local facilities, and aims to make 3,500 (free) masks a day, adding hospital gowns to their production list.
Custom upholstery brand Avery Boardman has been gathering materials and reaching out to manufacturers to donate supplies to mask and medical equipment to hospitals.
The contemporary furniture brand Baker has dedicated its U.S. manufacturing facilities, design resources and high-quality fabrics to the production of masks and gowns, all of which will be donated to local hospitals in North Carolina.
The architectural glass and hardware company Carvart has been manufacturing tempered glass protective screens to be used as a hygienic barrier by workers in essential businesses like pharmacies, grocery stores and banks.
Working with companies like Sherrill Furniture Brands, Century Furniture is donating materials to the Owosso, Michigan–based furniture company Woodard to assist in the production of masks.
→ Cerno The Laguna Beach, California–based lighting company has set out to manufacture approximately 10,000 face shields to donate to local hospitals. In the words of Cerno co-founder Daniel Wacholder: “Everyone has something they can contribute to this fight. We saw a need to make something, and that is what we do.”
Chilewich’s factory in Chatsworth, Georgia, is now producing not only table mats, floor mats, wall textiles, and upholstery, but also personal protective gowns—as many as 25,000 per week.
→ Classy Art
For a limited time, while supplies last, the Houston, Texas–based wall decor company is giving free disposable masks to retailers, accepting requests via email.
The Company Store
The Company Store has donated 600 units of cotton sheet to TX N95, Quilting for a Cause, Sewing Masks for Atlanta Hospitals, and Project Runway alumna Amanda Perna, all of whom are using the fabric to sew face masks.
CW Stockwell x Caitlin Wilson Design x Delgado NYC
Together, CW Stockwell, Caitlin Wilson’s eponymous Dallas firm, and handbag designer Delgado NYC have teamed up to produce over 1,000 nonmedical masks to donate to health care workers nationwide. The trio started a GoFundMe page to help compensate the men and women who are sewing the masks.
→ Designtex x West Elm
Together, West Elm and Designtex have joined forces to design, manufacture and produce 13,000 cotton face masks to support COVID-19 efforts. The masks are produced in Designtex’s facility in Portland, Maine.
The luxury bedding and linens brand Eastern Accents has shifted operations, devoting its resources to producing up to 1,000 face masks each day, to be donated to hospitals and other facilities in the Chicago area. The company has also made the masks available for purchase online, with all proceeds going to the donation drive.
In recent weeks, the High Point, North Carolina–based furniture manufacturer has taken a serious look at its supply chain, strategizing ways that the company can give back to local health care facilities. Already underway is mask production, with medical-grade surgical gowns and reclining hospital beds in the works, CFO David Bennett tells Business of Home.
As states begin to encourage citizens to wear masks in public, the textile company Eskayel is now selling them to consumers in sets of five, pledging all sales to COVID-19 relief.
→ Essence of Harris
The Scotland–based family business made a name for itself crafting scented candles—and now it has shifted operations to produce hand sanitizer, which it is giving to its local community free of charge.
The Tulsa, Oklahoma–based fabric company has converted its sample room to mask making, donating Fabricut masks to local health care workers at three major hospital systems.
Food52 x Steele Canvas
While Amanda Hesser has been keeping our kitchens busy through Instagram Live cooking demonstrations, another part of the Food52 team has partnered with one of their makers, Steele Canvas, to create denim and flannel masks. The home goods company is selling them online in a buy-one-give-one model for medical facilities around the U.S. In the first 36 hours of the preorder, the brand was able to donate 10,000 masks—and a second preorder is already underway.
The premium outdoor furniture brand Gloster is providing PPE for essential workers, with upholstery specialists observing social distancing rules as they sew various protective equiptment.
Goddard Design Group
Goddard Design Group noticed early on that the memo samples in its library were the perfect size to make washable mask covers. Calling on the help of local seamstresses and workrooms, the firm has teamed up with the Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum to donate home-sewn masks to local medical facilities, as well as accept donations of usable cotton fabric.
→ Harvard GSD
The Harvard Graduate School of Design has begun the production of PPE using its over 100 3-D printers. The school has produced nearly 1,000 face shields and 750 visors, all of which are being donated to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
→ HBF Textiles
The Hickory, North Carolina–based HBF Textiles is now producing and donating washable masks, N-95 respirator covers and protective gowns.
Holly Hunt is partnering with a local Chicago drapery workroom to convert Great Plains textiles into nonsurgical mask covers, all of which will be donated to local hospitals.
Jiun Ho at Dennis Miller Associates
Using textiles from its own inventory, Jiun Ho is working to produce medical masks for health care workers.
Out of its South Carolina warehouse, Kravet is not only producing face masks, but has donated over 1,000 yards of fabric to Woodard to help sew masks in bulk. “From the moment in mid-March when we heard about the dire need for masks in the health systems of North America, we immediately converted our sample department in South Carolina into mask making,” Cary Kravet tells BOH. To date, the company has proudly donated over 10,000 masks to those on the front lines, as well as 1,000 to employees and their families. Kravet Inc. has also donated 2,000 yards of fabric to those around the country who desire to make their own masks. “It is our hope that we have done a small but significant part in the global effort to keep people safe at this time,” says Kravet.
→ Laura Park Designs
The home and textiles brand Laura Park Designs is currently making face masks out of its vibrant patterns—all of the proceeds from online mask sales will be donated to Feeding America.
→ Lauren HB Studio
The Ohio-based studio specializes in functional and sculptural ceramics, but has recently set out to create fabric masks for front-line workers, offering sales to the public as demand has increased.
Usually, this Minnesota-based company manufactures outdoor furnishings from recycled plastic materials. Since the pandemic, however, Loll Designs has shifted operations, and is now making ready-to-build hospital field beds with reclining backs and adjustable headrests. Fashioned from durable and sanitary HDPE (high-density polyethylene), these beds are recyclable and available for worldwide shipping.
→ Louis Poulsen
The Danish lighting brand is donating 10,000 N95 masks to the Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Florida, where its U.S. offices are located. In addition to health care workers, Louis Poulsen will donate masks to other first responders, including police officers and the fire department.
Currently Matouk is able to produce over 3,000 fabric masks per day, and will continue to do so long as the health care industry needs. The company is also producing an additional 25,000 masks per week with its partners in the Philippines.
→ Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
From Taylorsville, North Carolina, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams has been hard at work supporting medical personnel and first responders—the company has shifted operations, now producing nonsurgical masks and gowns.
Flooring manufacturing company Mohawk Industries has teamed up with Fabric Sources International to begin producing medical isolation gowns and protective face shields in Atlanta and around Dalton, Georgia. Mohawk has shifted the focus of its engineering and sewing teams to design, test and create medical gowns, averaging 1,200 per day (and growing). While initial donations are going to local medical centers, the companies hope to expand their reach to other Georgia hospitals.
The New Traditionalists and Ducduc
Custom furniture designer The New Traditionalists has come together with sister brand Ducduc Kids, transitioning the company’s production facility to make essential health care furniture like beds, carts, partitions, dividers and day care furniture in addition to face masks and gowns.
The Ohio furniture company has been approved by Huron County to run as an essential business to redirect production to make hospital gowns and masks.
→ O. Henry House
American upholstery brand O. Henry House has been producing masks in partnership with the Carolina Textile District.
Ortho Mattress has reconfigured operations in its Phoenix factory and is now producing 1,000 nonmedical face masks each day to donate to essential workers, asking only for the cost of shipping to be covered.
Based in Dallas, the luxury bed and bath linens company Peacock Alley has been producing masks made by its skeleton crew of on-site seamstresses, with others working from home. Currently, the masks are going to hospitals and other front-line workers.
Fabric design and developer Pindler invites designers to join it in sewing for the #MillionMaskChallenge, a Twitter-born tag to rally both industry sewers and DIY-ers to sew masks to meet the critical needs of health care workers, and now, civilians.
→ PPEople Brigade
Started by Paige Cox, a Greensboro, North Carolina–based textile artist and the co-founder of Reconsidered Goods, a nonprofit for repurposing creative materials, the PPEople Brigade is a grassroots network working to make and donate face masks and sheilds. Over 1,000 have been donated to local North Carolina hospitals, and several have been shipped to Michigan and New York as well.
Ralph Lauren Corporation
The fashion and lifestyle brand has pledged $10 million to COVID-19 relief, which will provide financial grants through the Emergency Assistance Foundation; contribute to the World Health Organization COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund; support the Pink Pony Fund for vulnerable cancer patients; and give an inaugural gift to the Council of Fashion Designers of America/Vogue Fashion Fund for COVID-19 relief. What’s more, the company is producing 250,000 masks and 25,000 isolation gowns for donation with its U.S. manufacturing partners.
The design collective RCH Studios has been 3-D printing face shields for hospital workers—to date, its team has produced over 1,800 PPEs.
→ Rich Brilliant Willing
The Brooklyn–based lighting company is using its manufacturing capabilities to make PPE for health care workers in the New York area. Working in conjunction with iMakr, Rich Brilliant Willing has been supplying materials to digital fabricators to assemble approximately 10,000 face shields. Concurrently, the brand has redesigned its face shield, and pending approval by the National Institutes of Health, 3-D printing of the new design will make the process even more efficient.
Roger and Chris
The North Carolina–based custom furniture company has dedicated a portion of its team to sew face masks to donate to those on the front lines of COVID-19 relief.
→ Room & Board
Modern funiture company Room & Board is known for partnering with companies whose values align with sustainability efforts and helping local communities—during the COVID-19 crisis, many of the company’s U.S. manufacturing partners have been producing PPE for donation.
The Fairfield, Connecticut–based rug and fabric brand has donated its Linen Emil fabric to an unnamed designer in Chicago who is making masks for emergency workers. The company has also tasked its own workroom with making masks for local Connecticut hospitals.
Salone del Mobile.Milano
The fair was postponed, but the organizers of Salone del Mobile didn’t let that stop them from supporting their community. With thanks expressed to the Chinese design sector, VNU Exhibitions Asia, FederlegnoArredo and Salone del Mobile.Milano, 545,000 medical masks have been donated to the Italian Red Cross.
Sandra Jordan Prima Alpaca
The Healdsburg, California–based company is partnering with its artisan network to “lend a helping hoof” by donating archived fabric to its partners to sew hundreds of nonsurgical masks for local health care workers in Sonoma County.
Not only has Schumacher donated hundreds of yards of fabric to the efforts organized by Woodard and other smaller mask-making initiatives, but the luxury fabric brand is currently producing about 500 masks per day at its facility in South Carolina. Masks are being donated to the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, in addition to local South Carolina health care workers.
Sherrill Furniture Brands
The North Carolina–based furniture company has been working with Woodard, donating materials to help produce masks for hospitals and emergency workers.
Silk Road Rug Inc.
The Los Angeles–based rug distributor and workroom is seeking donations of unused fabric rolls and sample remnants from the interior design and textile industries in L.A. County to go towards handmade face masks to be donated to local hospitals and doctor offices. Silk Road Rug Inc. has converted three-quarters of its workroom to make protective gear for health care workers.
The New Jersey–based office seating brand is producing washable, protective masks for health care workers. Stylex invites those in the tri-state area to connect with its team should they want to join the initiative, or if they know of facilities in need of supplies.
Sutherland Furniture and Perennials Fabrics have pivoted operations and dedicated their warehouses to the production of health masks to be donated to health care workers and others fighting on the COVID-19 front lines, using the hashtag #TheHeartOfDesign on Instagram as part of its initiative. The solution-dyed acrylic fabric masks are bleach-washable and will extend the life of regulation N95 face masks and can withstand repeated cleaning.
Wearbest Weavers, a subsidiary of Swavelle, has successfully pivoted to creating PPE textiles that comply with national standards to meet Barrier I, II and III qualifications. The goods are qualified to be sewn into medical, hospital and isolation gowns, as well as other protective clothing.
The Newark, New Jersey–based sewing department at fine fabrics and wallcoverings company Thibaut has been busy making fabric face masks to aid health care and essential workers extend the life of their equipment. Thibaut not only has donated over 600 masks, but it has also donated fabric to sewers and workrooms nationwide.
The Urban Electric Co.
When construction and engineering company the Bourne Group asked if Urban Electric would be willing to help produce face shields, the custom lighting company answered with gusto. Using its water jet capabilities, donated equipment and its craftsman crew, Urban Electric is working to make thousands of these face shields to donate to the Medical University of South Carolina and the staff at Ropers St. Francis Healthcare.
→ Wearbest Weavers
Wearbest Weavers has pivoted its production efforts from performance textiles to weaving PPE fabric, now supplying fully tailored medical gowns. The gowns are meet the standards of Barrier Levels I, II and III, in accordance with CDC guidelines.
For over 150 years, Woodard Furniture has crafted high-end outdoor furniture pieces—but at present, the company has a skeleton crew working to sew as many as 1,000 non-N95 masks per day to donate to medical facilities in need, working with the donated textiles from many powerhouse industry brands that have sent fabric donations.
These industry players helped lead the charge, and while their initiatives may have expired, BOH would like their efforts to be remembered here.
Last month, luxury lifestyle brand Aerin donated 20 percent of sales from its home decor and tabletop and bar categories to God’s Love We Deliver—a nonprofit organization that prepares and delivers meals to people unable to provide or prepare food for themselves.
Arteriors launched a social campaign in support of artists and makers during this time. United by the hashtag #MeansForMakers, the company seeks to raise COVID-19 relief donations for CERF+, a nonprofit organization that focuses on safeguarding artists’ livelihoods. Until May 7, Arteriors donated $5 for every Instagram post tagged with @arteriorshome and #MeansForMakers.
For the month of April, the online art platform donated 10 percent of sales from its “Give Back” collections to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization. The other proceeds went to the represented galleries and their artists. This came as part of its #ArtKeepsGoing campaign, created to unite the art world and art industry at large. “This moment in time is unprecedented for the world and our respective communities,” said Marina Cashdan, vice president of editorial, brand and creative at Artsy. “With the physical art world indefinitely closed, we wanted to demonstrate how art keeps going during times of crisis and uncertainty.”
East Fork’s Gift a Mug
The Asheville, North Carolina–based ceramics company East Fork launched an initiative called Gift a Mug to support Vecinos, a free clinic that serves uninsured and underinsured patients working on farms. For every mug purchased, $25 went directly to Vecinos, and the mug was gifted to a health care worker at Mission Hospital. East Fork raised over $15,000 for Vecinos.
In April, Brooklyn–based interior architecture studio General Assembly hosted “At Home,” an online auction “from home and for the home.” Proceeds supported Direct Relief’s COVID-19 fund. Participating brands included Apparatus, Calico Wallpaper, Egg Collective and Roll & Hill.
The Invisible Collection
The Invisible Collection hosted a charity auction with 25 bespoke pieces that ended May 4. All proceeds supported emergency services globally, including a portion of funds that went to Feeding America in the United States.
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