Addict or Connoisseur?

Addict or Connoisseur?

Do you consider yourself a fabri-holic?  I’ve been thinking a lot about that term recently.  I believe this is a distorted description of someone who values the materials that are used to create.

Many years ago when I first bought SBDF, a new acquaintance in the fabric business told me that it didn’t matter what I offered, it was finding the right customers.  “They’re all addicts; they’ll buy anything!” he said.  I was horrified by his statement as this did not at all characterize the customers in our base and I surely did not want to develop a business which simply fed an addiction.  Perhaps there are those in our industry who fit this description, but they are not generally customers of SBDF.

The other day I chatted with some local customers in the warehouse, a young design student and her artist mother.  As I often do, I asked “what are you looking for when you design your garments?”  The answer was the same that it has been for the 20+ years I’ve been buying for this business….something unique in fiber, color, and surface design.  These are not the words of those who are just “feeding a habit”.  These are the words of someone who values a fine piece of fabric and yes, maybe covets it, but doesn’t settle for “just anything”.

Silk Photo Print Fabric
This silk photo print is one of my current favs

The connoisseur looks for the finest fabrics in their category of interest, the best quality, the stand-out print for their taste, the right color values for their wardrobe or client.  Do we collect fabric?…why yes, of course.  By the very nature of the industry, fabric is produced, used and discarded, never to be milled again.  Thus we, as connoisseurs, must decide rather quickly that a particular fabric belongs in our treasure trove.  My favorite term for a fabric stash is “resource center”.  It is a collection of fabrics that we have gathered that have the potential to “become” when we are ready to create.  I am not at all ashamed to be a collector myself and I think there is nothing more fun than going through my treasures periodically to visualize future projects.  But, I do take offense when someone refers to me as a fabri-holic.  Now a choco-holic is a different thing—I wear that label and probably always will!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.