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Closing the Gap on the Form or Function Dilemma

Written by Lisa Nicholl, VP of Sales & Merchandising, JF Fabrics
Imagery by JF Fabrics

In the not too distant past the choice between form and function as it relates to fabric was always difficult. Choosing beauty meant hiring a 24-hour guard to ensure no pets or sticky fingers landed on the furniture; or covering the furniture with a bedsheet until special guests visited.
    Choosing durability meant everyone, including the family dog, could sit on the furniture,  except it was so unattractive, the furniture would get covered up with a bedsheet when special guests visited.
    The fabric industry has responded with the introduction of performance fabrics such as Crypton Home and Aquaclean®. Recognizing that most homes reflect a contemporary lifestyle where adults, kids and pets use every room in the house, these performance fabrics are antimicrobial, odor and stain resistant, and easily cleaned with a mild detergent and water.

Not your grandmother’s fabric
Choosing performance meant “ugly” patterns that were abrasive to the touch. Not anymore! These new performance fabrics offer a wide array of modern and transitional designs that are soft to the touch and comfortable to sit on. Fabrics such as velvets and chenilles offer super soft comfort in trend forward color palettes. Other fabrics such as rayon/cotton blends, which are typically fragile, may now be used in great rooms and kitchens where glamour is a requirement and cleanability a necessity.

Not all performance fabrics are created alike
Although many brands may claim performance, there are certain specifications to look for. The word washable does not mean that it is stain resistant; it simply means the fabric does not require dry cleaning. Look for words like soil or stain resistant, anti-microbial, and odor resistant. Some topical treatments, such as these, are available to provide performance; however, keep in mind that not all fabrics can be treated and these topical treatments have a limited life expectancy (meaning the treatment
will wear off). Performance fabrics have an unlimited life expectancy, which means the finish will never wear off.
  Lastly, look for performance fabrics that are certified and boast low VOC emissions that are commonly known to pollute indoor air. 

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