About Price and Exclusivity of Designer Fabrics for the Home

About Price and Exclusivity of Designer Fabrics for the Home
Have you ever paid a few thousand dollars for custom drapery, bedding, or furniture and then seen your fabric (or a thinner inexpensive version of your fabric) on something priced low at a big box store? If you haven't, you either don't shop at chain stores, or you bought designer exclusive fabric.

What does that mean? Fabrics sold "to the trade (designers and architects)" are not sold to stores or to manufacturers. However, some short sighted wholesalers create a version of the "to the trade" fabric that is different enough to skirt their contractual obligations to the trade.

As you probably know, fabric manufacturing in the U.S. has nearly ceased, and foreign markets, especially India and China, have taken over production. These fabric manufacturers don't have long standing relationships with wholesalers or distribution channels. Truly, the traditional European and American method of branding and distribution is outside their tradition. More sales to more merchants means good business. While fabrics involved in contractual sales are not typically subject to controversy, manufacturers are more likely to create variations of "to the trade" material to sell to others. This is in stark contrastto traditional manufacturers who saw the wholesaler as an essential, long standing partner.

What can you do to ensure that your high end custom purchase will not be replicated on gift wrapping paper, lamp shades, and cheaper fabric? The best way is to buy designer exclusive materials from a long standing dealer who either creates their own product or stands vigilant in exclusivity assurance.

Design Nashville offers open stock, semi-exclusive, and designer exclusive materials as well as some close out designer exclusive materials that are even more exclusive than currently running patterns. We are authorized dealers of the following lines that contain materials guaranteed to be exclusive to that design house: Beacon Hill, Lily Allesandra, Design Legacy, Stroheim and Romann, Vervain, Robert Allen, Highland Court, B. Berger, F. Schumacher, Laura Ashley, Ralph Lauren, and more!

Fine designer lines offer more than just exclusive distribution. They offer licensed patterns. Often, licensing is related to the manufacturer's investment in purchasing the rights to historical works. For instance, Highland Court offers fabrics that are derived from the famous Biltmore Estate. Considering the costs of obtaining the designs and the small run of material for exclusive distribution, it is not surprising that pricing for such materials is higher than average.

Design Nashville can even have fabric made for you! We work with a weavers in Europe to create historical fabrics; silk makers in India to embroider, pleat, and crush silk; and an American company to print graphic motifs on plain fabric stock.

The majority of our customers select semi-exclusive materials.That means that the distribution channels are somewhat constrained and that our wholesalers are involved in oversight to uphold their branding (and your investment).

We do offer and recommend open stock materials made by highly respected fabric manufacturers such as P. Kaufman, Richloom, Covington, and World Wide Textiles. These lines change their patterns frequently to keep the line looking fresh (rather than limiting who can buy them). The quality of open stock fabric is often as good as exclusive fabrics.

When you shop fabric, you will find that the exclusivity of distribution is a greater factor in the price than the quality of materials WITHIN THE SAME CATEGORY. For example, a velvet sold only by F. Schumacher costs more than a velvet sold by World Wide Textiles. But a velvet will always price higher than a faux silk within the same line.

Email Design Nashville for courteous assistance in selecting fabrics and designing with fabrics for your home.
Scroll to top