less is better
Minimalism in shopping is a trend that has been developing for many years. With the textile industry, it is an attempt to answer the most important questions from the customer's perspective. How to choose fabrics that will last for years? What determines their durability and lack of wear and tear after the first washing or cleaning? What fabrics are worth investing in? What should you not trust, and what should arouse suspicion?
According to the principles of minimalist shopping, it is not a good idea to blindly follow seasonal trends in fabrics intended for interiors designed for everyday living. They pass very quickly, so using your own, original style is definitely a better choice. The purchase of upholstery fabrics or curtains that define the style and colour of an interior is a decision made for years, so it is worth thinking it through and making sure that what you choose is universal and offers the best quality. In the case of styling, which is often associated with eccentric design ideas, it is not always possible to meet all the criteria of universality. However, you can find a golden mean and look for solutions that guarantee quality success.
The general rule seems to be simple: after careful and sufficient consideration, you should buy fabrics whose price suggests high quality. Certainly, for the benefit of the health of users and homes they live in, it is always worth using natural raw materials: good quality cotton, wool, silk, and linen.
The argument in favour of choosing natural textile raw materials, apart from their aesthetic and health-promoting values, is also the fact that high-quality fabrics made of natural fibres age much better, or rather that their timeless value lies in their so-called design DNA. Even the most threadbare exclusive wool or worn out and crumpled good quality linen will be much more valuable elements of a well-decorated home than the latest, poor quality polyester fabric with a tacky sheen.
Usually, buying more expensive fabrics proves to be the right choice, as we pay both for good raw material and decent working conditions, as well as the quality of the product itself. Not to mention the fact that we care more about more expensive things. However, identifying a good source for obtaining and producing raw materials is difficult. We are not yet able to verify whether a given fabric has been created sustainably. This will be possible only when manufacturers start to provide tracking of raw materials (the so-called traceability) and information on the environmental impact of fabric production (the so-called footprint). Many assurances from producers concerning sustainable production are often associated with the so-called greenwashing (or a “green lie” – the phenomenon of generating demand from customers looking for goods manufactured in accordance with the principles of ecology and environmental protection), that is falsely suggesting that a given product is eco-friendly.
However, it is possible to increase the chances of choosing high-quality and environmentally friendly raw materials. It is definitely worth reading labels and checking the composition before the purchase, as well as looking for stores where competent staff are willing and prepared to help customers make the best choices.
In this context, what will certainly prove to be helpful is the principle of buying home textiles only in places that provide all the necessary information about the origin of the goods, their raw material composition and all approvals that fabrics have obtained, including the certification documentation (see Dekoma's text on pro-health trends).
The quality of the fabric is of key importance when using upholstered furniture. The choice of upholstery fabrics requires specialist knowledge about the quality of a given raw material, its technical parameters, texture, and properties. It is not easy to recognize a high-quality fabric at first glance. Often, fabrics that are made of synthetic fibres look almost identical to natural ones. Therefore, first of all, you have to follow the parameters that are provided by reliable producers. If we decide to use blends, we should choose the balanced ones, with a good proportion of admixtures supporting or strengthening the main natural fibres.
The so-called “grip” – that is, the tactile sensation provided by the fabric, will tell us a lot. It is worth paying attention whether the fabric feels refined to the touch, because it is the best quality test for all fabrics that come into contact with the human body.
One of the basic parameters that determine a good quality upholstery fabric is a measure called Martindale cycles, which denotes abrasion resistance. Fabrics with 50-60 thousand cycles are considered good, although the best fabrics today have a much higher number of cycles, in the order of over 200 thousand. Mohair Lincoln from the Dekoma collection is an absolute record holder in this ranking, with several million Martindale cycles.
When it comes to design that goes hand in hand with durability, fabrics with a fine weave are the most durable ones, and are also the easiest to maintain, which is another argument for their longevity.
The “pilling” test is also directly related to the abrasion resistance test. The result of the former should give explicit information about the tendency for unsightly pilling of the fabric surface. This phenomenon occurs mostly in fabrics with a high admixture of synthetics, mainly polyesters. On a scale from 1 to 5, those with 4 and 5 are safe. The others should be used with caution. This is especially important with heavily used furniture.
When choosing a quality upholstery fabric (as is the case with decorative fabrics), another important parameter to consider is its ability to preserve colours for a long time, i.e. fade resistance. The decisive factors in this regard are the quality of the yarn itself, and the quality of the dyes and chemicals involved in the dyeing process. Colour fastness is measured on a scale from 1 to 5, the higher the parameter the better.
Less is better. We should choose fabrics carefully and rather opt for more expensive ones, which will guarantee good appearance and use for many years. Purchasing decisions, also in the case of textiles, require time to think, preparation and knowledge. Do not hesitate to ask for all the necessary information, demand certificates and approvals. Let your choices serve you well for years!
Creative thought, text, photos, and styling: MBBM Studio