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Fieldcrest taps five designers.

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. - Fieldcrest Cannon has hired five people for its design team, thinned in recent months after most of the mill's designers opted not to relocate from New York to the company's headquarters here.

To help lead creative efforts on the bedding side, Fieldcrest Cannon brought in Tom McElroy as design for decorative bedding. McElroy replaced Barbara Rogoff, who left Fieldcrest Cannon after the company announced the move.

McElroy spent the past 10 years at Springs' Wamsutta division, much of that time as liaison between its design and engraving departments.

Others joining the team, said Nancy webster, corporate vice president of creative development:

* Joan Falkowski, who has been named director of mass bath design. She has been in business for herself over the past few months. Prior to that, she worked at Ex-Cell as a designer. * Margaret Netherton comes to the company as towel stylist. For the past three years, she has had her own interior design firm. * Lauri Drowne and Susan Mack will fill roles as blanket stylists. Drowne was most recently a stylist at Beacon Looms. Mack was a stylist for Manual Woodworkers & Weavers.

Webster said she is still building her design team. The relocation is expected to be completed in September.

Meanwhile, the product development team, which has traditionally been separate from the design team, is playing a larger role than usual in developing the collection for October market.

"We are very involved in the sampling process," Webster said. "We have a very strong product development team who have always supported the design process. We didn't lose any of those people."

Home textile companies have traditionally based their design teams in New York because of its creative energy and its pool of freelance designers.

Telecommunications has made it possible to work efficiently out of New York and still communicate with production teams in the South. Designers also say they are able to make trips to the mills to ensure that such things as color and sizing are correct.

Webster has heard the skeptics say that without a presence in New York, Fieldcrest Cannon's designs will suffer.

To the contrary, she said. The design team's move to North Carolina will create a whole new dynamic, Webster said. "It's a wonderful time to challenge the norm."

For the first time, the product development team and the design team are under the same umbrella, literally working side by side together from the design concept to the finished product, Webster said. For instance, when a designer begins creating a pattern, a person from product development will be able to help determine what screen mesh is best used to execute it.

McElroy agreed that the relocation will enable Fieldcrest's design staff to be more efficient and productive.

"One of the biggest issues is trying to translate concepts into viable products," McElroy said. "You can't do that any better than being at the mill. You are involved in the process in a much more intimate way. It speeds up the turnaround time."
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Title Annotation:Fieldcrest Cannon
Author:Williams, Alexander H.
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Jun 26, 1995
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