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De Poortere cuts swath in velvet.

NEW YORK--De Poortere Fabrics, the number-one manufacturer of velvets in Belgium, has been calving out a niche in the American upholstery market for the last four months after a resurgence of interest in the fabric here. The 75-year-old company, known for its velvets, chenilles, damasks, jacquards and tapestries, is targeting both the residential and commercial markets.

Said Louis Parein, president of de Poortere Fabrics, "The beauty of the American market is that it is so large. The only way to succeed is to find a special niche." And he believed his company had done that with its line of velvets. "We have to be different," he asserted.

Color and design seem to be the keys to the velvet market, according to Parein. De Poortere's palette is extensive and aims to appeal to a wide audience. "It's always a matter of color," he said.

Geometric designs were one of the other strengths of the line, said Parein, and he reported a high degree of success and interest with buyers. Texture was also important he noted, and de Poortere's chenilles and mohair looks were enjoying a fair amount of attention as well.

Intended for upholstery, the majority of the velvets in the line are made of an acrylic, cotton and polyester blend for colorfastness and durability.

By Parein's account, the company's biggest hit occurred at the most recent Proposte fabric fair in Italy, with a velvet whose mottled texture was an accident, he said. Called Sauvage, it is unique in appearance with a soft and drapable hand.

Neutrals and naturals were among the favorites of furniture manufacturers, Parein said, but black had also made a strong showing.

Future plans for de Poortere include adding chenilles and boucles to the line of velvets.
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Title Annotation:De Poortere Fabrics to market velvet upholstery in US
Author:Brannigan, Kathleen
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Sep 30, 1996
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