The Bedding Snob

Cultivating relaxation need not leave you starving for style …

Snobbish Thoughts January 2011

Textile Trends & the Heimtextil Trade Show

Last week, 5 of Cuddledown’s design team traveled to the Heimtextil trade show in Frankfurt, Germany. Heimtex is the largest home textile trade show in the world and is one of many excursions that keep Cuddledown at the forefront of home fashion and trends. One of my most vivid memories, back in the day when I attended, was sitting in an enclosed cubicle in 1991. I was about 5 months pregnant and was privy to very intense negotiations between Cuddledown’s president and the German down proof fabric suppliers. At the time, there was absolutely no consideration in Europe, when it came to smoking, for my delicate condition. All I remember was trying to hold my breath for the 4 hours it took our president to finally break them down and agree to our pricing. It’s no easy task making the finest bedding in the world affordable. To this day, anytime my son misbehaves, I blame that smoke filled room!

But, I digress.

As the year’s first trade fair, Heimtex presents not only the latest products and concepts for interior design with textiles but also the trends for the coming seasons. With over 2,600 exhibitors from more than 60 countries showing in 9 buildings (separated by walking sidewalks) with multiple floors, its a daunting task to get through Heimtex and find the vendors you do business with as well as find fresh and innovative, quality designs and products at affordable prices to add to the Cuddledown catalog.

Trend directions concerning color, textures, patterns and materials are ever changing. They are influenced by social and cultural trends and attitudes. Four specific trends dominated this year’s show.

First, according to industry experts, the new consumer landscape is characterized by quality, longevity, sustainability and significance. A new generation of designers are researching forgotten skills, and traditional craftsmanship is making a comeback. The consumer has expressed the need for pure, clean, simple designs that translate into charming & timeless looks.

The second trend highlighted this year focuses on mix and match; turning something old into something new, combining colors and patterns with abandon. This trend clearly shows how tradition is being turned on its head and stylized ethnic influences from all over the world meet with novel patterns, prints and fabrics.

The global financial crisis, natural catastrophes, and an over abundance of products and information are causing people to pause to think about and reflect on their current lifestyle. Experts say that a deciding factor for commitment to purchase is the emphasis on what is really important. Consumers are not only looking at design for design’s sake; simplicity, accessibility and an invitation-to-use, are important components for today’s designers. Designed for everyday use, products in this category suggest a longer lifespan and incorporate modest and unadorned components.

Lastly, a “wilderness” trend is emerging. A movement back to where we came from. The world we live in is high-tech. Confidence in governments, economic structure, and energy supplies has been compromised.  Consumers are striving for more self-reliance and want to achieve an ultra-sustainable lifestyle. In order to achieve this, some are breaking free of their normal way of life in a radical way and adopting the “wilderness lifestyle,” which means being at one with nature. It has been suggested that people are looking for distinctive, individualistic features marked by imperfection not perfection. There is a renewed interest in simple design and manufacturing techniques with an eye to wild, natural shapes, created from untreated materials.  A new generation of designers are at work transferring forgotten skills and craftsmanship into the modern era, with the aim of creating a meaningful link between the local and the global.

You won’t see these trends translated on the pages of our catalog until next year, but for now, we’d love to hear what you think-what directions in home textile would you like to see?  I’d like to know what changes or additions you would suggest in our home, bed, bath and gift products. Let me know!

Stephen Colbert Inspired Bedding!

Stephen Colbert and ComaCozyNow this is one bedding product we hadn’t thought of! You’ve heard of the “Snuggie” and apparently there’s something called a “Slanket” (really?? … guess I was behind the times… was still stuck on the Snuggie…) but comedian Stephen Colbert has one-upped both of them with his contribution to the swaddling craze – the “Coma Cozy.”

As he says in this video clip, “Let’s face it, the Snuggie and the Slanket were just too much work!” he proclaims, adding, “You had to put on a pair of pants underneath them. Who has that kind of energy?” His new invention is, “a fleece sack that you just climb into and zip up effort-free cocoon living.” Unlike a blanket, he notes, “if you pass away inside it, and someone notices, it can just be dragged to the curbside.” Oh, Stephen Colbert, what will you think of next? And what do you think of his idea, or actually, any of these products? Ridiculous, crazy, or perhaps some merit? ;0

Here at Cuddledown, we do have some fabulous blankets, which are great for cuddling up in! By the way, one of our customer favorites, the deliciously soft 5-star rated European Cotton Fleece Blanket is now on sale! But what do you think – should Cuddledown create our own version of a personal warming cozy? Let us know!

In Loyal Defense of the Down Comforter

Temperature Regulating ComforterAs comforter loyalists, we’d like to take the opportunity to respond to a recent article from The Wall Street Journal  bad-mouthing down comforters!  We are enjoying the responses to the article from many comforter-lovers, and of course, we here at Cuddledown will most rigorously defend the light, fluffy warmth of a down comforter.

First, we feel that we should point out that the definition of a duvet given in the article was not 100% accurate; “Enter the down feather comforter which sometimes goes by the name Duvet (technically, the French word means a comforter cover).”

In fact, the word “duvet” encompasses both cover and filling:
http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-cobuild/duvet
duvet (duvets plural ): A duvet is a large cover filled with feathers or similar material which you put over yourself in bed instead of a sheet and blankets.

http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/duvet
a warm cover for your bed, consisting of a large cloth bag filled with feathers or a soft material. The usual American word is comforter.

Next, we would like to counter the negative statements made about duvets/comforters being 1) Too hot:  At Cuddledown, you can find down or synthetic comforters in a myriad of styles and warmth levels – from the warmest level 4 to a summer level which is for just that, the summertime (and that’s not summer in Artics)! And we even have a temperature-regulating comforter! 2) Too messy/unattractive:  We offer a wide variety of gorgeous duvet covers in rich solid colors and patterns, both vibrant or subtle, and in fabrics from smooth sateens to heavenly, lightweight batiste – and they have interior ties so your comforter will stay put 3) Too lumpy and the fill ends up at the bottom: Our Cuddledown comforters have box-stitching so the down will not shift, and the down is soft and fluffy – not in the least “lumpy”. 4) Too “smelly”: We believe the author of this article may have purchased an inferior comforter, or else was not properly instructed on how to care for it. Our high quality down is cleansed thoroughly which is not the case for many big box retailer products. If you use a protector and/or duvet cover, you should need only air out your comforter or wash it infrequently. And if you follow instructions and dry it thoroughly, it should never smell anything other than fresh and delightful!

So in summation – down (or synthetic) comforters are not only comfortable (hence the name), and can be found in any warmth level to suit your needs, but they are also attractive and can be a beautiful addition to your bedroom!

That being said – if you’re in a warm climate, or if your taste runs to a sleeker bed, our selection of soft, warm blankets, bedspreads, and coverlets such as our ever-popular 100% Cotton Diamond Pique Coverlet offer the perfect alternative.

So where do you stand?   Down duvet defender, or Bedspread+blanket booster?

Did You Know January is Annual White Sale Month?

Damask Comforter, 600 Fill PowerThanks to John Wanamaker, January is a fabulous month for shopping. According to PBS.org, Wanamaker is credited with developing, “the concept of the department store” and is remembered today for his contribution to society in the form of a better shopping experience. Wanamaker firmly believed in the importance of truth in advertising, and in offering stylish, high quality products, which earned him the solid trust of his customers. In January of 1878, Wanamaker held the first-ever “White Sale” at his Philadelphia department store, offering customers low prices on high-quality white linens imported from Europe. Since then, the “Annual White Sale” has become a tradition for American retailers. Now, however, the sale has expanded far beyond white bed linens.

As Tara McAlister of The Charlotte Observer points out, there are certain “hot ticket” items to keep an eye out for during January, including linen sales:

“Linens: In 1878, Philadelphia retailer John Wanamaker declared January “the annual White Sale.” This tradition continues. Shop now for linens, pillows and towels.

Furniture: Most new furniture lines are released in February and July, making now the time to snatch up deals on old inventory. Others will be buying furniture, too; keep an eye on the classifieds or Craigslist for gently used furniture.

Winter clothes: Retailers want to make room for spring’s newest fashions. Look for great prices on winter coats, scarves, gloves and wool suits. Buy one size up for your children, so you are prepared for next year.”

While you are browsing shops or the web for those “hot ticket” White Sale items, don’t forget to drop by Cuddledown.com! In keeping with White Sale tradition, Cuddledown is offering savings on high-quality bedding right now at Cuddledown.com with our Annual Comforter Sale, and our Mattress Pad Sale. Sale items include all of our hand-crafted down comforters and synthetic fill comforters, as well as our selection of heated mattress pads, wool mattress pads, and mattress pads that are just intended to add a layer of comfort and support. Or, check out our post-holiday clearance for huge savings on flannel sheet sets, cotton percale sheet sets, decorative throw pillows, pajamas, apparel, and so much more.

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