WORDS: ANNE SCHAUFFER | IMAGES: SUPPLIED

Are we loving local, or is international it? Nicole Black of Black Fabrics considers South Africans, as a rule, to be very much in tune with international trends but not slaves to them. “Black Fabrics is really active on Facebook and Instagram, with both local and international trends reflected in our collections. We have a prolific range of fabrics and wallpapers from foremost international brands, but if not appropriate to the client’s home, we often use one of the fabrics or wallpapers for colour, print or texture as a jumping-off point to help pull together a scheme.”

Black says they combine international ranges with Black Fabrics’ branded fabric to keep the cost palatable. “Currently, the most popular textured weaves and velvets are in high demand with international prints. Popular colours are still navy or cobalt blue, combined with jades – the hues might change from darks to soft blues, sage greens or bright green and white.

“Generally people are still loving blush pink as an accent colour, or they combine coral with terracotta which is spot on trend… don’t confuse it with the peach and green of the 1980s! Popular printed themes lean towards flamingos and botanicals, fresh and bold geometrics redolent of retro chic, as in our Scion or Orla Kiely collections with a Scandi feel.” She also points to “freehand brushstrokes which dictate a more relaxed living, even though they are in gorgeous fabrics like the Harlequin Atelier collection”.

Melissa Kerkhoff of Lula Fabrics acknowledges that South Africans follow European trends for design and palette but believes we’re increasingly more discerning now. “We choose fabrics that please – origin unimportant. There are also those who support local and are loyal to South African designers – some foreigners too, who love to buy from local designers.”

Kerkhoff says South Africans are loving interior fabrics treated for outdoor use, because that’s our lifestyle – we choose patio entertaining. “There’s a strong trend towards oversized bright fl orals like our Thai fl oral and Memphis design, which has made a comeback in retro pastel tropical leaves, our delicious monster leaf print (2007), and our palm frond design (2009) are big favourites, as are tribal designs like Suzani designs – our Bukhara (2017). Colours on trend are the ‘living coral’ which is the Pantone Colour of the Year in all shades teamed with mint greens, sage and teal.”

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Upholstery

Black considers today’s upholstery favourites to be durable weaves or textured plains with patterned scatters. “Practical slip or loose covers are still popular in plain linens or linen combinations.”

Kerkhoff has seen a mix of upholstery trends recently, focussing on inverted seams either left fluffy or overlocked, insert fl at piping or lip in a contrasting colour, and slip covers in a more formal structure.

We love the easy life

Marc Shotland of Home Fabrics believes, “South Africans are drawn to products that make their lives easier, that’s why Home Fabrics launched the FibreGuard range with its stain-free technology – 24 various FibreGuard collections from textured, dry, jaguars and design, perfect for any interior.”

Velvet

“If there’s one texture that adds opulence and elegance to a room, it’s velvet with its tactile qualities and luscious good looks. It’s been growing in popularity for the past few years, and this year it’s set to be one of the biggest trends,” says Shotland. “Following current trends of tactile fabrics, Moulin Rouge (FibreGuard) offers two velvet qualities, namely Lech – a shimmering lustrous ground that brings to mind timeless chinois silk velvets – and Deluxe, a dry, subtly textured matt quality reminiscent of cotton velvets. Both qualities are perfect for high traffic areas such as family rooms.” He adds, “If you love the look of velvet, you don’t have to go all dramatic and dark. It works really well with softer blush tones and contrasts beautifully with other textural fabrics such as wool and linen.”

Ombre

If you’re on the hunt for some really trendy curtains, Shotland believes ombre is the way to go. “Ombre curtains are set to make your living space look lively and colourful, but not too vivid or overwhelming. We love Designer Guild’s Saraille collection of wide width linen-look ombre fabrics which work perfectly for curtaining.”

Fabric