What Makes Luxury Fabrics So Luxe?March 6, 2017
Just like the fashion industry, the home furnishings industry offers luxury products and services that range from product to product, brand to brand. The quality of a product is based upon a number of factors like the make, the material, the rarity, the dyeing process etc. If you’ve ever been into a design showroom, it’s likely you’ve noticed the varying prices from fabric to fabric. Have you ever wondered what makes one fabric $30 per yard versus the next at $300 a yard? Think of it like shopping for clothes. Certainly a cotton T-shirt costs much less than the same style in 100% silk. The same is true for fabrics.
The construction of a fabric can play a role in its luxury status. With advances in technology, it’s now possible to mimic the look of labor-intensive techniques like handblocking or handweaving by printing patterns digitally or embroidering by machine. Although these techniques can produce beautiful product at a significantly reduced cost, nothing compares to the quality and the beauty of an exquisitely hand-crafted fabric.
Each and every fabric is created with a different use in mind, from lightweight sheers for drapery to high-durability vinyl for upholstery. One of the reasons working with a designer is so beneficial is because we are all knowledgeable in the proper uses and functions of different fabrics. A well-educated designer would not, for example, upholster a family room sofa in an embroidered linen because it would quickly wear out and begin to look shabby, versus a durable weave that’s easy to clean and meant to withstand some wear and tear. We can also explain why certain materials like silk, wool, linen and leather are each luxurious and cost more than cotton or muslin, for example.
There are a few brands that are my go-to when it comes to luxury fabrics. One in particular is GP&J Baker. In the interior design world, this UK brand is known for its exquisite and award-winning collections and extensive archive dating back to the late 1800s. In fact, GP&J Baker holds a Royal Warrant, which means it is a designated supplier of goods and services to the Royal Family, and many of its patterns grace homes (and palaces) throughout England. Today, GP&J Baker revives its patterns in refreshed colorways and on varying grounds to modernize the designs while paying homage to its illustrious history. One thing that has never changed, though, is the brand’s commitment to the utmost quality product.
Take for instance its latest collection, Historic Royal Palaces – an exclusive collaboration with the institution in England. The collection includes an array of opulent fabrics from exquisite wools, velvets, embroideries, and silks, and each pattern has a special note about its origins.
Another fabric company that I refer to for luxury fabrics is Lee Jofa – which happens to be the exclusive U.S. distributor for GP&J Baker product. Lee Jofa is an English brand, as well, and similarly revives archival patterns for use today. Some of the more popular products in the Lee Jofa arsenal are its beautiful handblock designs. A handblock is essentially a large stamp that is created by carving the design into wood and then stamping it onto the linen continuously to create the repeated design. The result is a unique and stunning pattern with a special nod to old-world techniques – the perfect conversation starter and an incredible foundation for creating a room design that will endure for generations to come.
With so much demand in today’s world for things that are fast and simple, it’s nice to reflect on the luxury of these beautiful fabrics that take time to make, and that more importantly will stand the test of time.