Blog

We are interested in what fabric can bring to life. Our blog is a celebration of the lifestyle, culture and design that influences what we do.

Women in Design

Interview with BuildHer Collective

At Zepel we seek opportunities to engage and celebrate innovative initiatives in design. This doesn’t need to specifically relate to textiles, but any industry that appreciates furnishings, decorative art, and considers how they enhance and complement interior styling. We were immediately struck by this organisation designed for women seeking to tackle the building industry, BuildHer Collective. This innovative service provides easy to access online educational support, courses, blogs, pod casts, and 'one on one' advice for women that are undertaking building projects and major renovations. 

Their mantra of ‘we help women renovate, develop, and grow’ is immediately empowering, eliminates what initially feels like a confronting industry to approach, and instils confidence via their reassuring messages and accessible road maps.  

At Zepel we are renowned for our modern and sophisticated fabric designs with practical attributes. The versatility of collections within our range are ideal for residential and commercial applications, proving a popular choice with designers and home renovators across the country.  Our focus is providing quality high performance ‘life-friendly’ textiles, fabrics that are durable, easy clean, modern and epitomise everyday luxury.

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of our new FibreGuard Outdoor fabric range just in time for the long-anticipated summer months ahead. And, if you didn’t already know about the specialist attributes of the FibreGuard brand, then read on.  
 
FibreGuard is an innovative fabric technology that provides in-built, stain resistant technology while also offering innovative features including water repellence, easy clean properties, and colour fade and mildew resistance while still maintaining a stylish finish in a variety of colourways.  And did we mention that you can easily remove sunscreens and skin products from these fabrics! 
 
Outdoor dining or lounge furniture takes the brunt of the harsh Australasian climate, and with outdoor living and entertaining as popular as ever, it pays to ensure you can rely on your high-performance upholstery fabric to last the distance.  

Trends are often transient, leaving small impressions that mark moments in time that are forgotten but are sometimes appreciated again through the post-modern cycle.  There is one aesthetic however that is fundamentally triggering for most textiles’ enthusiasts, and instantly transports a person to a comforting memory. An appreciation for the imperfect, untouched, natural, appliqué accents, embroidery, and hand painting are making more of an impact. This romantic shift can be viewed as an extension of other recent trends that have also gained traction such as ‘Wabi Sabi’, and ‘Cocooning’. However, the ‘handmade’ or ‘artisanal’ approach has more emphasis on the process of the fabric creation.  Viewing closely how yarns are unwieldly woven, embroidery designs created, appliqué fragments attached all with mesmerising and skewed imperfection.

It was fortunate timing that Zepel introduced the high-performance fabric range, FibreGuard Pro, in late 2019. This collection has thoughtfully considered our increasing concern when visiting hospitality and healthcare premises. The interior furnishings within these spaces that our body comes in contact with, such as couches and chairs, the surfaces we touch, and possibly the drapery, require suitably engineered fabrics to ensure we are protected from any harmful bacteria and germs. It may seem like an exaggeration and something we would never consider before, but untreated fabrics in hospitality and certainly in healthcare, can harbour harmful germs and bacteria. Furthermore, with the increasing requirement to uphold stringent hygiene in public spaces, a fabric range that could eliminate this stress in our view is invaluable. No need to fret however - our FibreGuard Pro fabrics while being specifically designed for high traffic, demanding interiors, are also germ repellent while being visually attractive.

There is a strong belief that velvet fabrics are high-maintenance and need to be shielded from the demands of heavy use. This couldn’t be further from the truth, in particular with Zepel’s velvet fabrics. 

We put this ill-informed theory to the test to see why velvets had a reputation for being delicate.   We engineered methods of textile construction to create stronger velvet fabrics that are still plush and inviting to touch. Man-made fibres, such as polyester, ensure durability and longevity without sacrificing that beautiful handle inherent in natural fibres. 

Careful planning and testing resulted in the creation of our high-performance velvet fabrics.  They are not only fire-retardant but are ready for high-traffic areas such as hotel lobbies and hospitality venues. 

Thanks to the Industrial Revolution, velvet became a regular sight in the hospitality sector. During the 1900s, glamorous hotels, bars and restaurants were draped with velvet and typically upholstered chaise lounges and dining chairs. The fabric was exemplified with the fashion conscious, artists, musicians, and middle to upper class. During the 1920s velvet optimised a society rich in culture, economy, and music appreciation, particularly ‘Jazz’. A response to the recovery of a devastating war, the 20s flung open the doors to elaborate dance clubs and music venues.  The Savoy Ballroom, Cotton Club and Apollo Theatre were a part of this growing fascination with velvet furnishings, and its profound impact on representing luxury and cultural sophistication. Devoré velvet dresses also made a regularly appearance in fashion and dance venues.    

It was not only it’s chic aura that made it popular in venues, but it’s inherent ability to assist with sound absorption. With big bands such as the Chick Webb ensemble featuring vocalist Ella Fitzgerald, and the Count Basie Band playing regularly at these venues, the roaring sound was softened by rooms covered in velvets. Today however, our velvets include so many more high-performance qualities. 

Characterised by its luxurious pile, velvet is a wonder in any interior environment, especially when it’s durable, fire-retardant, and extremely soft. 

The rich and extensive history of velvet is equally interesting. It’s difficult to determine when velvet was first created but could be as early as 2000 BC in Ancient Egypt as piled textiles have been discovered at archaeological sites. In text, it was first recorded in the years 691-743 AD in Arabic literature in the courts of Damascus, Syria. It was believed to be referred by the name ‘kutuf’ and presented in carpets and robes worn among members of the court. Via the silk road, velvet is believed to have arrived in Europe near the year 1311 AD and recorded as being used in possessions owned by Pope Clement V. It then quickly evolved as being regarded as a luxury fabric. 

No matter what happens, 2021 is set to be a fascinating year as we see changes in our home and working lives and, rejuvenating our homes to suit the current mood.

Across the world many of us have embraced elements of the popular tradition of ‘Wabi Sabi’ by incorporating the Japanese aesthetic for rustic minimalism into our lives through fashion, art and interiors to create a more stress-free environment.

It’s a common thread throughout the interiors world – one of turning our homes into a haven like retreat – somewhere to relax in a calming space, that is attractive to many of us after the ups and downs of 2020.

Have you noticed that the web is full of ‘one trick’ wonders for cleaning pretty much everything in your home? From baking soda to rid carpet stains, grapefruit to clean your bath, and vinegar for bad odours, there is a home remedy for any occasion. 

We all like natural products, but sometimes things are taken a bit too far and it is hard to know what actually does and doesn’t work.

It is due to this (unscientific) information that we are frequently asked about using different cleaning hacks on our stain-resistant fabrics, especially when it comes to FibreGuard sofa fabrics. 

In this article we will cover some key questions relating to the cleaning of your FibreGuard fabric.