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Tie One On.

Byline: Anna Wolfe

When it comes to aprons, the newest designs are fun and functional

Whether they're frilly and flirty decked with seasonal motifs, gender neutral or masculine, aprons come in different shapes and patterns that appeal to a wide cross-section of consumers. Kathy Williams, owner and designer behind Simply Whimsical, has been designing and making her line of aprons and related kitchen textiles in Pittsburgh for more than seven years. According to Williams, an increase in home entertaining contributed to Simply Whimsical's sales. Her customers like to wear the aprons not only when they're cooking but also when they're entertaining.

To complement her timeless, somewhat retro designs of aprons, pot pinchers and glamour gloves, Williams finds her color inspiration on the fashion runways. "I'm always looking for something new, staying up on trends," says Williams. "I follow Kate Spade -- her runway colors were gold, blush and mint." These colors can be found in some of the new items from Simply Whimsical. Her aprons appeal because "They're fun, like a dress," explains Williams.

And women need to have options.

Tara Lynch, owner and designer of Funktion, agrees. "I feel aprons are something you collect," says Lynch, a chef turned apron designer. "You don't have just one."

Funktion, based in Canoga Park, Calif., introduced 12 new designs at Atlanta Gift in January. All of Funktion's full aprons, which resemble bohemian sundresses, are made in India in warm, bright colors. "I tend to be spring all the time," says Lynch of her color palette.

New for 2015 is a Scandinavian-inspired Indian print. "It's the closest thing I have to a seasonal apron," Lynch says. Other items include grocery bags, dish towels, napkins, oven mitts, yoga bags as well as children's aprons in prints that coordinate with the adult full and half aprons.

Vintage-inspired designs are driving textile sales at The French Farm. Gisele Oriot, owner of the Houston-based importer and distributor of French foods and housewares, has been selling aprons and coordinating tea towels for years. Recently, she's seen an increased demand from her cheese shop customers for the vintage prints. And thanks to the macaron craze, the apron and matching towel with the cookies arranged in an Eiffel Tower formation are also popular.

Not all designs are feminine. The desire to create gifts for men was the impetus behind the grill-inspired line, Aromatherapy for Men. "We trademarked "Aromatherapy for Men' and started talking about all the ideas surrounding that concept," explains Katherine Waymire, president of Minneapolis-based Talisman Designs. "We all know the real "man cave' is centered around the grill."

Barbecue turners were among the initial items, and this year Talisman Design expanded the line to include long and thick aprons for grilling and cutting mats that resemble raw meat. "The response has been great," says Waymire about the gift line. "It makes everyone laugh in that knowing way."

New Products

Aromatherapy for Men Apron

Talisman Designs has added an apron to its Aromatherapy for Men gift line of barbecue tools, including a grilling turner with a built-in bottle opener and a set of two cutting mats. The apron is cotton twill, long and thick -- just right for barbecue grilling. SRP: $20.

Talisman Designs, Minneapolis, Minn., 952-681-2866, www.talismandesigns.com

Raspberry Betty Apron

Fun and feminine, the Betty Collection by Now Designs features chic, detailed prints. New for 2015 is Raspberries. This vintage-inspired apron is constructed in a lightweight cotton fabric and finished with pleats, a sweetheart neckline and two pockets. The apron measures 36 inches long by 30 inches wide and features adjustable neck and waist ties. Coordinating oven mitts, potholders and dishtowel sets are available. SRPs: $21.99--$24.99.

Now Designs, Blaine, Wash., 866-253-9001, www.nowdesigns.net

Lana

Lana is one of Funktion Home's 12 new designs for 2015. It's available in a full and half apron. All designs feature a long waist tie to assure a perfect fit for almost any figure. All aprons are 100 percent cotton and made in India. SRP: $42.

Funktion Home, Canoga Park, Calif., 310-621-1369, www.funktionhome.com

Hickory

Each Hedley & Bennett apron is handmade in Los Angeles from start to finish using top grade materials such as American canvas, raw Japanese selvage denim and European linens. Built to last, each fabrication detail has been carefully considered to handle the rigorous daily use experienced in a working kitchen. New for 2015 is Hickory, available in three sizes: Regular 33-inch length (SRP: $82); Long 37-inch length for those 6'2" and taller ($92); and Big Boy, a 46-inch length that's 43 inches wide (SRP: $105).

Hedley & Bennett, Los Angeles, 213-744-1355, www.hedleyandbennett.com

Click On Apron

The Click On Apron from Swedish textile company Nyttadesign is now available in U.S. and Canadian markets. The Click On Apron resembles a strapless dress that has no ties, thanks to its unique design. The upper part of the apron is boned and the 39-inch waist adjusts to most body types. The plastic rail, which gives the waist its click-on fit, is removable for washing. Made from 100 percent organic cotton, the apron is available in bright blue, pink, lime green and black. SRP: $50--$60.

Svensk Design, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 403-390-0760, www.svenskdesign.ca
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Author:Wolfe, Anna
Publication:Gourmet Retailer
Date:Apr 1, 2015
Words:1005
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