Brands we trust: our Q&A with the team at James Dunlop Textiles
James Dunlop Textiles is a global textile wholesaler established over a century ago in New Zealand. We’ve recently had the opportunity to sit down with their team to understand the main reasons why their reputation is well known around the globe, as well as clarifying a few misunderstandings when it comes to commercial grade fabrics, and what to expect from our industry in 2017. What a day!

How long has the company been around and what makes the brand Mokum so unique?

James Dunlop Textiles was established in New Zealand over one hundred years ago, and is now run by the fourth generation of the Dunlop family. As a global textile wholesaler, James Dunlop Textiles brings you the very best in textile design, technology, quality and service. As an international converter and wholesaler of premium furnishing fabrics, we are recognised globally as one of the premium brands in the Southern Hemisphere. Our products include high quality upholstery, drapery and wallcoverings suitable for application in residential and commercial situations.

James Dunlop Textiles has three core brands – Mokum, James Dunlop and Pegasus as well as distributing key international brands Designs Of The Time, Bluebellgray, and Hemptech. Leading innovation in production, performance, quality and sustainable environmental standards, we bring our core brands to Australia, New Zealand, North America, Asia and all around the world.

Mokum Classics, image curtesy of James Dunlop Textiles

For 40 years, the Mokum brand has been providing the industry with fresh and original textiles inspired by our local culture and lifestyle. Each new Mokum collection begins with the Sydney-based design studio researching global and market trends and taking influence from our lifestyle and natural environment. Patterns, materials, yarn colours and production techniques are explored in collaboration with the finest international mills. Our fresh and original textiles are designed to be both enduring and beautiful, reflecting the essence of the Mokum brand.

Our modern designs and constructions are suitable for our casual lifestyle and unique environmental conditions. Quality is paramount; the Mokum brand delivers both style and substance.

Where do the textile designers get their inspiration from when designing Mokum’s fabrics?

Each new Mokum collection begins with the Sydney-based design studio researching global and market trends and taking influence from our lifestyle and natural environment. Patterns, materials, yarn colours and production techniques are explored in collaboration with the finest international mills. Our fresh and original textiles are designed to be both enduring and beautiful, reflecting the essence of the Mokum brand.

“We are very proud to sit within the Southern Hemisphere and be influenced daily by our culture and sublime surroundings. Through maturing into export markets we have found that these two key influences give us a unique perspective in the textile world.”

Stephanie Moffitt, Design Director at Mokum

What should architects and interior designers be looking at when choosing fabric options for commercial spaces?

Appropriate usage and application is always the most important. Naturally this would stem from the design brief, further developing schemes, colours and style.

Whilst rub tests are a great indicator of the abrasion value and performance of an upholstery fabric, it is often far more important to consider the application it is going in to and accordingly choose something with a robust, easily cleanable construction such as polyester, olefin, acrylic or other washable and spot cleanable blends. Yarn qualities are now so sophisticated, you can get an incredible array of textures, weaves and appearances in these man made fibres and they will offer peace of mind once installed.

Image curtesy of James Dunlop Textiles

James Dunlop Chateau, a high performance velvet, is a great example of a fabulously high end look, with all the hallmarks of a hard working and hard wearing yarn type – washable, great abrasion, with a luxurious touch and look. Outdoor products such as Pegasus Vidos, or Mokum Nullabor are woven in highly UV rated, easy clean, indoor/outdoor yarn types. They look natural, organic and contemporary but allow you to use them in high use areas either indoors or out and keep them clean with ease.

Beautiful outdoor fabrics, featuring Vidos, by Pegasus, image curtesy of James Dunlop Textiles

Draperies too bear some careful thought – does the project require a fire retardant cloth? Is it in a sunny position? Will it be handled frequently? Are acoustic, thermal or light blocking elements necessary?

In publicly used spaces, fire retardant draperies are often a must and many items are available “off the rack” with an FR finish or performance rating that sits within the local building code requirements. In Mokum, the new semi sheer Tranquility gives you a luxurious, elegant texture in a construction that passes local FR requirements for window treatments. Envoy 2 from James Dunlop is a wonderful semi sheer or face fabric drapery offered in a wide width format – a great way to reduce manufacturing cost and use continuously for a seamless drape – with a very natural linen appearance and great washing and fire performance attributes. Coated items such as Obelisk FR give a contemporary textured drape OR lining solution with the added benefits of being a full light blocking effect, excellent on its own, or behind a sheer to add dimension and texture.

Ultimately, by assessing where and how the fabric will be used and what it will be subjected to, you can select items that will stand the test of time and perform brilliantly in situ without having to compromise on design. A challenge, but a fun one!

The team at Mokum is passionate about what they do. Image courtesy of James Dunlop Textiles.

What are the benefits of using high quality fabrics?

Quality doesn’t just refer to the final product, but also the construction of the fabric itself. Starting with good quality fibres to create the yarn, this will ensure a smooth and stable weave. Be it natural or synthetic fibres, this is the core of your product and will dictate the life and performance of the fabric. High quality dye stuffs to colour the yarn or fabric (depended on the dye method). Most things will fade over time, the speed of this however depends on the quality of the dye used and making sure the appropriate method of colouring is used for the required use of the final product. Correct composition for required usage, and thorough fabric testing from the supplier to ensure it is applied in the right space.

Ensuring you have taken this into consideration and apply the fabric in the appropriate environment, you can experience with confidence the longevity of the product that you expect, and be comfortable with its performance.

Image courtesy of James Dunlop Textiles.

What is your favourite upholstery fabric in your Mokum range and why?

Bridget Hazledine – NSW Account Manager: Molokai! It’s a heavily textured velvet jacquard named after the volcanic island in Hawaii. While it has a divinely soft handle the rugged appearance mirrors its namesake and creates this amazing blend of texture and movement.

Mokum Studio: Eternal Linen because of its thoughtful colour palate and the beauty of natural linen and its handle. The added complexity of the enzyme finish gives a stunning and totally unique look to the final product.

Sarah Fox – AU Commercial Sales Manager: Mackenzie – wool and wool blends like this upholster so beautifully, have a memory for shape (ensuring the upholstery continues to hold its form over time), and work on all types of furniture pieces. Mackenzie is a true contemporary classic, a wool with an elegant marle look which is so forgiving as a surface texture. It can even do double duty as the sleekest, most modern drapery you have ever seen.

Left: Mackenzie, right: Eternal. Images courtesy of James Dunlop Textiles.

What upholstery fabric is hot in 2017?

The interior industries love affair with linen is still going strong. Developments in construction, yarns and colours have become much more sophisticated, the final product is more durable.

Velvet will also continue to be very strong. We’ll continue to see heavy textures and complex constructions with an almost 70’s vibe.

High performance is taking over as indoor/outdoor becomes softer to handle and their incredible performance capabilities surpasses commercial and finds itself more and more in residential applications.

Images courtesy of James Dunlop Textiles.

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