The Bedding Snob

Cultivating relaxation need not leave you starving for style …

Snobbish Thoughts March 2009

Color Me Trendy

Heimtex_2009For you & me, March may still be the beginning of the year. Not so for the fashion industry. They’re way ahead of us. In fact, these leaders of fashion have been busy since early 2008 creating & fine-tuning 2009’s trends. It reminds me a bit of the car industry, how the next year’s models are somehow available before the next year even happens.

At Cuddledown, our merchandisers & designers are in the thick of everything, attending markets & trade shows to make sure that we’ve got our fingers squarely on the fashion pulse. And I know you’re dying to know, so I sat down with Vice President of Merchandising, Norma, to get the skinny on what we’ll be seeing from Cuddledown for the rest of 2009 & into 2010.

TBS: So first, tell me, what are the major trade shows that you go to every year? Is there a specific one you feel most influences how Cuddledown will interpret upcoming trends?

N: Heimtex is one of the biggest & allows us to see all of our major suppliers in one venue. Other shows are the NY Gift Show, Curves (which is for apparel), Accessories the Show, Highpoint (predominantly furniture & other home decor items), & Intertextile Shanghai.

TBS: Which one provides the most important trend information?Heimtex_2009

N: Heimtex, because it’s so huge & draws an enormous crowd of vendors. Curves & the NY Gift Show are close seconds.

TBS: How do trends work anyway? Who decides what will be the next hot design/color/texture?

N: It used to be that trends hit ready-to-wear first, but now we are seeing them trend together. We review the predicted ready-to-wear trends (at least one year in advance) and adapt forecasted designs and colors to our products. Need example to highlight

TBS: What’s the big picture for the rest of 2009-2010? What should we all be lining up to purchase?

N: The trend theme for 2009, according to the Heimtext Trend Forum is “Expect the Unexpected.” The trend contributors who developed this umbrella theme identified 6 different trend flavors as described in the Heimtex Trend Book:

  • Illusionsist – “‘sculptured volume, floating feather weight fabrics, and folded dimensional fabrics combine into soft furnishings that are never quite what they seem.’ Color story – the barest hint of color depicted by white, ivory, champagne, gray, peach, sky blue, and mist.”
  • Time Traveler – “‘ornamental opulence, deco graphics, and laced luxuries set the stage for our reclaimed cultural heritage and ultimate luxury.’ Color story – all the colors in a peacock feather centered around metallic gold.”
  • Fortune Teller – “‘multi-mismatch and acid folk are combined in a free spirited collage of pattern as an update to the bohemian and ethnic trends of the past.’ Color story – an eclectic mix of red, turquoise, purple, navy, chartreuse, fuchsia, orange, and mauve.”
  • Alchemist – “‘adapted from sculptural aspects and architectural trends, the alchemist is built around textiles featuring rigorous geometry, armored chic and sensual structures.’ Color story – the shimmer of metals and stone depicted by black, gray, gunmetal, silver. Lurex abounded.”
  • Witchcraft – “‘a modern rustic and artisan approach to new and/or recycled products. Aspects of nature are recreated in 3D textures, vintage looking skins, and handcrafted fabrics produced from floating yarns and threads.’ Color story – dark mysterious colors of nature such as evergreen, bark, and terracotta with dusty accents of teal, turquoise, mustard, and antique blue.”
  • Enchanted – “‘a fantasy world of plastic and bright pops of color where all rules are cast aside and bad taste no longer exist. Color story – Primary colors interplayed with white.”

Additionally, recycled, organic, & technical fabrications were still a large part of the new product development & textured fabrics, lurex, & prints were more prevalent than ever.

TBS: How have these trends influenced the way that you & the other Cuddledown merchandisers selected product?

N: We borrowed from many of the themes:

  • Witchcraft – Birds incorporated into designs were very prevalent. We will be doing an embroidered sheet set for Holiday 2009 along with bird designs in sleepwear for Fall and Holiday 2009. Also for holiday, a mixed media of animal prints for bedding, finished with a faux fur throw for an updated bohemian look. Reversible faux fur vest reversing to black chevron quilting.
  • Combining Enchanted with the Illusionist – Perle de Jardin Voile coming up in Summer 2009.
  • Time traveler – Tea Time Toile, an Oriental multi colored toile with delicate outlines in metallic gold availabe in Fall 2009. Art Nouveau-influenced paisley in deep claret for Holiday 2009.
  • AlchemistArchitectural Toile, available now, is a taupe architectural design printed on a shimmering background of silver sage.
  • Color adaptations from the EnchantedCloisonne – bright shades of purple, turquoise, green and fuchsia, accented with gold that is currently avaialble.  Florentine Scroll – also currently available – showcases an interplay of bright orange, gold, yellow, and white in a traditional but overscaled paisley design.

Our apparel designer, Heather, chimed in to give us a quick overview of what we’ll be seeing in Cuddledown’s sleepwear selection:

H: You’ll be seeing lots of florals in our sleepwear.  Our Amadora line will get an update in Fall 2009, featuring a new small (so-called “ditsy”) floral print, while our offerings from Lily Pulitzer, in Holiday 2009, will showcase big, bold, bright florals.  As Norma mentions above, birds are also very big right now & we’ll be offering printed bird sleepwear in both our Fall & Holiday 2009 catalogs.

TBS: Norma, do you have any tricks of the trade regarding trends for our readers?

Heimtex_2009N: It’s lots of fun to decorate & update the look of your room by playing with color and fashion trends. A suggested tip for those who like to update their décor often is to start with classic pieces in designs and textures that you love. Select a neutral palette for your basic bedding wardrobe such as white 1020 thread count sateen, neutral 600 thread count sateen, or pale pastel 500 thread count percale. With this basic palette, layer on a new print or textured solid as a duvet cover and matching sham. Add a pop of color with contrasting decorative pillows and a coverlet, quilt, or throw. Don’t be afraid to experiment with colors and textures to create your own personalized nest of comfort. I love mixing the unexpected together to create a sleeping environment all my own.

***

I find the whole thing fascinating – how trends are developed & forecasted before we even see them! This year’s trends (or at the very least, the names given to the themes) seem to have an appealing air of mystique about them. I think Fortune Teller & Enchanted sound the most fun. What do you think?

Pictures courtesy of Heimtextile’s HoT-Trendscout’s Blog.

You’re getting verrrrry sleepy … how ’bout a nap?

There are days when I would kill for a good nap. Now, it doesn’t have to be long, it just needs to be good. In fact, it would seem that many people could benefit from a quick snooze that leaves them feeling well rested & clear-headed.

Enter: Fast Nap. A completely free, online, guided, meditative napping session. Admittedly, I’m a skeptic about anything that sounds so easy, but I’m tempted to try it out. I mean, if there’s a possibility of logging a couple of solid, quick z’s, what’s the harm? Anyone else interested in a power nap?

Love not war… no more pillow fights! Learn to love your pillow – Part III

So we’ve covered what kind of sleeper you are & what your fill options are. But what should your pillow be covered in?

As far as tickings – the material that covers the fill – you’ll find that most are made out of cotton for breathability. But cotton comes in many flavors from unbleached, undyed, & organic to Pima & long staple Egyptian. Not to mention that there are numerous weaves like cambric, sateen, & dobby! While ticking fiber can be important depending on what your eco-friendly ethics might be & the type of air permeability you might want, weaves are often more for appearance & hand (or feel) than functionality.

Of course, once you do make such an important purchase, you’re going to want to preserve it! Be sure to always use pillow protectors – whether they be dust mite proof (highly recommended to keep those morning sniffles & burning eyes away, especially for the highly allergic) or simply cotton, which will get the job done. Pillow protectors will increase the life span of your pillow quite a bit. A quick word about dust mites: these little buggers can wreck havoc on the unsuspecting sleeper, so ridding your home of them benefits everyone.

Are you ready? What are you waiting for? Off on the hunt with you! May each of you find that much-sought-after pillow perfection!

Love not war… no more pillow fights! Learn to love your pillow – Part II

In my last post, we talked about sleep positions & how they effect your pillow choices.  Once you’ve determined what type of sleeper you are and the general kind of pillow you should be looking for, next it’s time for some fun! There are oodles of choices out there from ticking material to fill. For those who prefer a poofy, cushy pillow, down is the favored choice. There are lots of misconceptions about down & allergies. The fact is that few people are actually allergic to down, but rather the particles left on the down when it’s not properly cleaned. Our down goes through a rigorous cleaning process to remove all of the allergens, leaving you with a fluffy, cloud-like, sneeze-free sleeping experience. So down is probably one of the more popular choices, especially as there’s a down pillow for every type of sleeper – stomach, back, or side.

But it’s not the only choice! People who truly feel that they are sensitive to down, may opt for a down alternative fill. Our down alternative is cushy, soft, & lofts similarly to down. It’s the next best thing to real down. Keep in mind, however, that as a natural fiber, down has an inherent resilience & is more likely to last longer before needing to be replaced.

Cotton is one of the most popular fibers for…just about everything! And pillows are no exception. They can be found in bleached or unbleached varieties, depending on your personal taste, and are often ALL cotton, right down to the thread. Cotton pillows tend to be firmer & less squashy than down, but cotton enthusiasts swear by them.

Wool pillows have heaps of naturally occurring positive attributes. They are inherently anti-microbial & anti-fungal, wick away perspiration,& are naturally temperature-regulating. A rather amazing fiber. However, like cotton pillows, wool pillows tend to be on the firm side and aren’t terribly malleable. Both wool & cotton pillow are perhaps best for side or back sleepers.

Then there are the foam pillows: (natural) latex & memory foam. Natural latex foam is derived from rubber trees, while memory foam is a synthetic material, originally developed for NASA for use in space craft. Like cotton & wool, both of these foams would be best suited for those who sleep on their side or back.

Natural latex pillows offer incredible support, with a little bit of give. Because it’s a porous material, latex has some spring do it (as opposed to memory foam, which is very dense & adjusts immediately to your head – with very little bounce). Like wool, latex is naturally anti-microbial & anti-fungal & is also fairly breathable. As an added bonus, it’s got a bit more squish to it than a wool or cotton pillow.

Memory foam is technical, in vogue, & has a loyal following. It conforms to your shape, cradling your head & easing any pressure points. To take it a up a notch, you can mix a memory foam insert with a down-filled outer ticking (a la our Down Covered Memory Foam Pillow), creating a heavenly match of technical & natural materials.

Okay, so now you’ve determined what type of sleeper you are &  what your pillow fill should be. You’re nearly done! Tune in next Wednesday for the exciting conclusion of how to pick your perfect pillow!

Love not war… no more pillow fights! Learn to love your pillow – Part I

Now I don’t know about you, but a pillow can totally make or break a sleeping experience. The problem is that there are just so many choices! How to choose the right pillow, the one that won’t leave your neck cramping, your back sore, or your shoulders aching? Not to fear, there is clarity within the madness!

The first step to finding pillow perfection is to figure out your preferred sleeping position: stomach, side, or back. Not surprisingly, the way you sleep determines what type of pillow you should be using. So let’s break it down:

  • Stomach sleepers: people who sleep on their stomachs need very little support. In fact, you want a pillow that’s pretty flat and allows your head to sink right in, creating no stress on your neck. Depending on the softness of your mattress, you may even opt to skip a pillow all together. Personally, I’m not a fan of this – I like a little something to scrunch up. But my mother, a confirmed stomach sleeper, actually prefers this! One thing to note is that some experts recommend NOT sleeping on your stomach at all. Reportedly doing so can put too much stress on your neck & back. A pity as I often find myself sleeping this way when I first get into bed.
  • Side sleepers: you folks need a pillow that helps to align the spine, supporting the space between neck & mattress, so that your head & shoulder stay in a straight line. A pillow that has some heft to it is best. A medium density down pillow can be most comfortable. If you’re looking for something a little more technical, memory foam is one option, contouring the shape of your head to get you in the right position. Another tip for side sleepers is to use a small pillow between your knees – this will also help to keep your spine aligned.
  • Back sleepers: many people assume that back sleepers need the utmost support, the most filled pillow. And while it really all comes down to personal preference, physiology would dictate that a flatter pillow work best. Even better would be a pillow with a cervical roll to support your neck & allow your head to sink to the optimum level. Backsleepers may also try a small pillow under their knees to help ease the pressure on their lower backs.

But that’s only the FIRST step to pillow picking. Be sure to check back in on Friday for Part II, choosing your fill.

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