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Trends in fabric for 2010

By M. Elizabeth Mooney   

Features Linens and furniture covers Party and event Trends and technology

In party linens, there are three things you can always count on – White, Beige and Ivory. Other than that, colours and styles change with the fashions of the day.

In party linens, there are three things you can always count on – White, Beige and Ivory. Other than that, colours and styles change with the fashions of the day. Ideas are pulled from couture, bridal, and even lingerie fashion trends and people are looking for the latest and greatest to use at their events. So, what will they be looking for in 2010?

Three examples from Ultimate Textile. Clockwise from top: Swirling Fantasy, Duchess Cloth, and Shalimar and Radiance.

It isn’t just tablecloths that are becoming popular in colourful hues and metallic finishes. Chair covers are getting the same treatment, as seen in these examples from Tricific.  
A-1 Tablecloth’s Ribbon Taffeta, featured in black and white, has become very popular.  
This lattice fabric, a harlequin patterned sheer fabric overlay, is the newest to join the A-1 Tablecloth line-up.  
Four examples from Jomar Table Linens. From left: Mimosa Swirl over Ironwood Solid, Infinity Eggplant over Lavender Solid, Pintuck Tiffany, and Apple Green Swirl.  

We spoke to a number of major players in the linen business to find out. Not surprisingly, the five people we spoke with had a lot of answers in common. The first common thread (no pun intended) is that the recession isn’t over, but the economy is getting better. Mitchell Bluethman at Jomar Table Linens in Ontario, Calif., told us the same thing as everyone else: last year “People were only buying what they already had orders for, they wouldn’t buy inventory until they had a commitment.” 

But people are hopeful for the coming year. According to Susan Murray of Susan Murray International in Toronto, Ont., “Many people are getting their confidence back and committing to bigger events.” Oren Fox at A-1 Tablecloth Company in South Hackensack, N.J., does inject a sobering note of caution though – “A recent industry trade show had a 30 per cent decline in attendance,” but adds “2010 will hopefully bring more success, with additional loans allowing more new companies to prosper and bringing fresh dollars into the industry.”  

Perry Glickman of Ultimate Textile in Paterson, N.J,. thinks, “Generally people are not as afraid. I don’t know that [the recession] is over, who knows what could happen tomorrow, but I’ve seen it bounce back.” 

For Diane Scodellaro at Tricific Enterprises in Markham, Ont., that optimism sounds like a bit of a mission. She’s adamant that people put on their dancing shoes and make this a year to remember. Although corporate orders are expected to be down, she says the personal parties will continue, and she wants them to be bigger than ever. “I want everyone to party! It’s about time, 2010 should be the year of the party,” she says.  

So, what kind of linen fashions can you expect to see at these 2010 parties? Well, the consensus seems to be that texture is the way to go. Murray thinks it will be in the form of “a mystical, dreamy effect,” expecting lace, gauze, open weave fabrics, and sheer material. Scodellaro agrees – “expect texture in 2010.”

Murray and Scodellaro also both pointed to “bling” as a big component of 2010’s table dressing.  Interestingly, we didn’t hear the same from the industry stakeholders we spoke to in the United States. Perhaps it’s just the Canadians who want sparkle. In the Great White North, metallic colours, threads that twinkle and sequins are all in store for 2010.

Bluethman reckons that this year will be all about what’s new. “People will spend money on new and exciting things to draw in customers. They want something to show off, something that’s different from what the person down the street has.”  Jomar Table Linens’ answer to this was to introduce a new line called Nova. It was introduced in 2009 with 12 colours in four styles per colour, and has been so successful they are introducing 12 more colours in 2010.
When describing the material, which is made of 100 per cent polyester but looks like silk, he noted that “Nova fabric sold like crazy, because people were looking for something different,” he says. “It’s a high-end look, but it’s durable, washable and affordable. People are looking for big bang for buck these days.” 

He also said that the ability to mix and match the different patterns, and the fact that they are offered in colours that work well with each other, has been a big factor in the line’s popularity. 

Ultimate Textile’s new offering is an environmentally friendly material made from 100 per cent recycled polyester. Plastic bottles will be turned into polyester thread and woven into fabric that is then used to make linens. “In the future, people are going to want to ‘go green’ with their parties, this product gives them the opportunity to do that.”

Although products may differ between manufacturers, you can expect similar colours across the board. Of course, the standard white, beige and ivory still stand, along with chocolate brown which is “still the new black” according to Scodellaro, but there are other colourful trends in store.

Bluethman laughed about the fact that if you talk to enough people about trends in colour you will cover all the colours of the rainbow (and then some). After a thoughtful moment, he said, “I think trends tend to be more about shades rather than colours”. 

Topping the list this year seems to be purples, from lilac to aubergine. Also topping the list were iridescent and metallic colours. Soothing food colours like light greens such as celery and apple, as well as lemon yellow, also made the cut. Aqua blue colours were not widely expected to be a trend, but were mentioned as possibilities. But it’s not all soft and soothing. Hot, vibrant colours are also on the menu: colours with names like Fire Red, Tiffany Blue, Bermuda Blue, Mustard Yellow.

Longer term, the expectations for the linen industry seem to be that it will move to a more moderate value-for-money focus. This is in contrast to previous years, whn there were shifts to very expensive products. Very beautiful, but very expensive. This year the pendulum is expected to swing back to more affordable and practical items. 

But Fox reminds us price isn’t everything. “The event linen industry is beginning to get saturated with inferior import product. For those that value price only, there are now more options to choose from. However, down the road, the quality will become an issue. The companies that find success will be those that value quality and service along with price.”

Bluethman agrees, something that marries quality and affordability is in store.

This year, the key will be carrying new and exciting products that set you apart from the competition, lots of texture, and, in Canada at least, providing something that shines.

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