Editor's View April 2017

Game Changers

Certain ideas in home textiles haven’t changed for decades—until now. The great generational shift, new technologies and lifestyle changes are prompting the revamp of tried-and-true ideas that will affect what retailers sell and how they will merchandise it.

• The Millennial Bed. The configuration of a complete bedding ensemble—Euros, pillow shams, layers of bedspreads, duvets and quilts with sheets and decorative pillows—hasn’t changed in decades. Perhaps it’s time it does.

Consider Euro and pillow shams. Euros have a practical side: one can lean against them when sitting up in bed. And they are perceived to “finish off” the look of the bed.

However, I don’t know anyone among my friends who uses Euro shams or pillow shams, for that matter. Who has time to keep taking pillow shams on and off each day? Do many Millennials even know what a Euro sham is? As casual lifestyles take hold, I’m not sure how many of tomorrow’s consumers will see them as worth buying.

During N.Y. Market, CHF Industries showed beach/surfer lifestyle line, Hang Ten. The pillowcases featured printed scenes and graphics, solving the problem of leaving “naked” all-white or solid pillowcases exposed when the bed is made. Great solution for Millennials, who won’t go to the expense and trouble of shamming them up.

CHF Industries also displayed the “unmade bed” look popular with Millennials and those embracing a casual lifestyle. Simplified layers of sheets, duvet and quilt look cozy and inviting when not perfectly ironed, tucked in and smoothed out.

• Non-Matchy Matchy. “Millennials want to collect and curate themselves,” according to Belle Maison’s Liz Romano, who adds that striped curtains have sold well for them among Millennials, regardless of other patterns in their furnishings. Retailers focused on outfitting the entire bedroom and bath in the same print should take note.

To serve the Millennial market, offering complementary options, rather than the old idea of making it easier for the consumer with all matching pieces, is the newer way to go. During N.Y. Market, Revman International displayed window treatment options complementary in color and pattern, alongside bedding collections.

Speaking of windows, urban Millennials might not be into traditional embroidered curtains—especially if they live in apartments with modern architecture. CHF Industries offers a solution in new clean-lined, affordable, ready-made roller shades.

• More Is Not Always Better. New technologies are transforming familiar necessities. In bath towels, absorbency is often associated with bulky thickness, but thinner options that perform as well or better are here. Over the past few seasons, the popularity of thin Turkish foutas and pestemals have expanded the concept of what a towel can be.

In March, CHF Industries introduced lightweight luxury towels in collaboration with Japanese manufacturer Uchino. The gauze-like towels have great absorbency thanks to new construction techniques. Micro Cotton offers relatively thin Loft towels covered with extra-long cotton loops for superior absorbency.

Consumers are different today than they were a decade ago, so why shouldn’t some old ideas about home textiles be updated? Suppliers are offering new solutions—it’s up to retailers to update their thinking, embrace these new concepts and get them into the marketplace.