i+D - July/August 2021 - 51

The Sunbrella Balance collection combines modern
and classic elements with functionality and comfort.
(Image: Courtesy of Sunbrella)
Command Performance
The term " performance " is a buzzword in the textiles
industry, but one that means different things to different people.
Encompassing everything from durability to easy care to wellness
claims, performance fibers are among the fastest-growing
categories in the textiles industry as companies rush to harness
new technologies and improve older ones.
Performance fabrics originally were designed for outdoor use
because they resist mold and mildew, UV damage, and stains;
but the tradeoff was a stiff hand and limited range of weaves.
Today, however, fabric houses are finding ways to treat a wider
array of fabric with performance technologies, using less-toxic
treatments, and promising impressive benefits and attributes
from the finished fabric.
Sunbrella is a name that's long known in the performance
fabric category, and the company continues to innovate.
Currently, it is focusing on expanding its yarn portfolio to
include textural and innovative yarns, such as marled and boucle
constructions that are part of the Sunbrella Balance collection.
" This collection was intentionally styled to create clever and fresh
atmospheres through complex yet composed design elements
with fabrics that fuse modern and classic components with
functionality, comfort, and design, " says Greg Voorhis, executive
design director. In the contract market, the company's new
Reflections line is its second collaboration of contract upholstery
with United Fabrics. It includes durable, soft, and bleach-cleanable
textiles geared to the hospitality market, with a design profile
that includes tactile solids and reversible graphics.
Voorhis says consumers have always appreciated Sunbrella
fabrics because they're developed to suit a host of aesthetics,
preferences, and environments, either indoors or outdoors.
" Consumers are recognizing this variety, and we're seeing them
explore new ways to incorporate color and texture both inside
and around their homes, " he notes. " That's why we continue to
expand our offerings with the same performance for which we
are known, but with new techniques and technologies to offer
even softer, more durable, and environmentally conscious fabrics,
as well as new constructions through natural-looking textures like
chenille and boucle. "
Another leader in performance is Fil Doux, which mills its fabrics
in owner Leo Novik's homeland of Chile, as well as in Brazil.
The company's product line targets the hospitality market, although
a residential line, Fiamma, is also available.
" One of the reasons we focused on hospitality in the beginning
is that we have a very unique product, " says Novik. " When we
came into the market, fabrics were polyester and focused mainly
on durability. We wanted to create fabric that focuses on durability
but also has the residential feel of softness. We created a yarn that
has polyester and cotton; you touch the softness of the cotton but
the strength comes from polyester. "
Fil Doux products are all engineered to meet
the requirements of a commercial application:
durable, fire resistant, seam strength, stain
resistant. The company's Pro-Tech treatment
protects woven fabrics against stains. An
eco-friendly, water-based treatment, Pro-Tech
doesn't affect the hand of a fabric and protects
the color and pattern, but is designed to
handle the harsh cleaning requirements of
commercial or hospitality spaces like those on
cruise ships or in the healthcare sector. An added
level of protection, Copper Shield by Pro-Tech
is a copper-based layer that can be applied to
fabric to kill bacteria and viruses, a feature
that's becoming increasingly important in our
post-pandemic world.
Fil Doux will continue to pioneer and innovate
with performance textiles. Currently, Novik
is looking at developing a fabric that can clean
the air in a room, much like a tree improves air
quality through photosynthesis.
Another important player in performance textiles
for hospitality use is Nassimi. This company,
whose roots can be traced back to the Silk
Road, got its start in the United States as a vinyl
manufacturer for upholstery, automotive, and
marine use. It quickly became known for its faux
leather with a buttery feel and realistic, upscale
look. The company parlayed its expertise into
woven fabrics, developing high-performance
textiles for commercial and institutional use but
with improved aesthetic appeal.
The Otratex subcollection Chalet features
a subtle geometric print and fresh color palette.
(Image: Courtesy of Fil Doux Textiles)
i+D - July/August 2021

i+D - July/August 2021

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