The process of creating a sofa fabric is undoubtedly one of the most exciting parts of our work. It involves the whole company and is a constant challenge to meet (and sometimes anticipate) our customers’ needs.
Let’s take a look together at the stages that transform an idea on the desk of the style office into an article available in the catalogues of retailers, in the showrooms of upholstery companies and in upholstery workshops.
Certainly the first suggestions come from the customers themselves. In a constant dialogue, our sales network listens, interprets and suggests what the market trends are and what new proposals need to be developed.
We listen to the market
Listening to the market is not only the first fundamental step, but it is a constant attention that accompanies all the phases of creation of the fabric; so that the creativity of the style office expresses itself at its best not only along paths of aesthetic and technical quality, but also on solid bases of commercial concreteness.
The first suggestions may come from the world of large-scale sofa production, from an Italian or foreign retailer, from a craftsman’s workshop, from an upholsterer: at this stage it is essential to listen.
Designing the fabric
Once the style office has identified the type of fabric that the market needs, the actual design phase begins: sometimes we start with articles already in the catalogue, for which a restyling is sufficient; sometimes we test new combinations of materials normally available in the warehouse; sometimes we experiment with new combinations of new yarns.
The most typical challenge is the creation of a completely new fabric, but made with yarns that are normally and historically part of our production.
Choosing the right yarns
Obviously, all stages in the creation of a fabric are important, but the yarn selection stage is perhaps the most delicate and complex. Choosing the right yarns means in fact satisfying at least three different needs:
- aesthetic (we must obtain a fabric that is visually as we have designed it);
- technical (during the production phase, first of the fabric and then of the sofa, we have to guarantee the workability and durability of the qualities);
- commercial (we have to produce a fabric in line with the positioning of the market for which the fabric is intended)
To satisfy these three needs, there are many yarns available: cotton, linen, wool, viscose, polyester, acrylic and others.
We propose colour variants
Even the choice of the colour proposal is a phase in which it is evident how fundamental it is to reason by looking at the market to which one is addressing oneself. Like any other sector in the world of design, the furnishing fabrics sector is obviously characterised by fashion and seasonality.
The extra step we always strive to take, when proposing a colour range, is to pay attention first of all to the peculiarities of our customers, both in terms of territorial spread and style and market segment; and not only to the general trends of the sector.
Most articles have a wide range of colours, over twenty variants; and, where appropriate, characteristic and clearly recognisable textures or geometries.
Once the design phase has been completed and the most suitable and effective colours have been chosen, the work moves on to production. The first prototypes of the new fabric are taken from the looms and it is checked that the fabric meets the quality standards both visually and to the touch.
Then it is the turn of the sample laboratory, which will give substance, with taste and precision, to the colour proposals; and will thus realise the colour ranges to be presented to customers – and which customers will present in turn.
We listen to the market, again
We started by listening to our customers and their needs; the market focus has accompanied us through all stages of fabric creation; and of course the market will tell whether our fabric creation work has been done to perfection. Often a fabric is created and liked straight away; at other times there are small things to adjust – perhaps lighten it a little, or add an extra colour.
Our satisfaction is in seeing our customers satisfied, because we are convinced that the secret of the creation of a new fabric and its success lies in the collaboration between them and us.
Our style department is available for any clarification, support and product development for the projects you have in mind – or even to request a colour range of our latest fabrics – please contact us.