i+D - July/August 2021 - 49

From time-honored patterns
to high-tech performance, the textiles
category stands for both beauty
and innovation
By
Jessica Goldbogen Harlan
Whether it's the softness of an upholstered
armchair, the warmth of a throw draped at
the end of a bed, or the play of light through
sheer curtains, textiles have the power to add
character, tactility, and humanity to any setting.
Textiles offer both practicality, like a sensible
performance fabric on a dining room chair,
and luxury, like an impossibly lush bedspread
in a high-end hotel room.
And fabrics are one of the most diverse
elements in a designer's portfolio. You can find
a $20 throw pillow or a $3,000 curtain panel, a
sleek silk-upholstered slipper chair or a plush
velvet-clad loveseat. Some handwoven
fabrics have been made using the same
techniques in practice for thousands of years,
while new cutting-edge constructions and
treatments push the boundaries of what we've
considered possible.
Many of the big names in textiles have existed
for generations. But rather than resting on their
venerable laurels, these companies strive to
stay relevant with fresh designs, innovative
technologies, and increasingly more responsible
ways of doing business.
Schumacher is one such name: Founded in
1889, the company carefully straddles the line
between honoring its heritage and progressing
to be relevant to new generations of designers
and customers.
" A big mistake I see from a lot of long-lived and
-loved brands is that they think in order to move
forward, they need to do a redo of their whole
brand, " says Pam Marshall, vice president of
design and product development for Schumacher.
" Historically, people think of us for our iconic
prints and wallcoverings, wovens, embroideries,
and trims, " she says. " I think we're known for
designs that are exuberant and joyful. "
The company's aesthetic is brought to life
on the pages of its in-house magazine, Frederic,
a recent reinvention of its previous publication
under the editorship of Dara Caponigro,
Schumacher's creative director and a former
home d├ęcor magazine editor. In the past decade,
Schumacher has developed a reputation for being
innovative and creative in a way that stays true
to the company's history. " What differentiates
us, " says Marshall, " is that we constantly bring
ideas to our production partners and encourage
them to push boundaries and to try things that
we bring to them, rather than based on what
they offer us. " Case in point: This past year the
company approached its print vendor with the
idea of printing patterns on a handwoven ground
that they created.
One of Schumacher's particular strengths is
using authentic, old-world methods to produce
fabric. " We have beautiful cut velvets in our
portfolio that are produced on authentic four-frame
wire looms, " says Marshall. " It's a laborious
process. And we could produce velvet in other,
more high-volume ways, but that doesn't speak
to our heritage. " The company also makes
authentic warp-printed ikats rather than digitally
printing them. " We make sure to stay true to our
history and the history of textiles and wallpapers,
and not to eliminate those types of things, "
she notes.
i+D - July/August 2021
49

i+D - July/August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i+D - July/August 2021

i+D - July/August 2021 - Cover1
i+D - July/August 2021 - Cover2
i+D - July/August 2021 - 3
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https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/id/20210910
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/asid/design_product_guide
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20200708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20200506_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20200506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20200304_french
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190910_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190708_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190506_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190304
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190102
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20181112
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180708_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180506
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180304
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