Sunbrella marine upholstery and boat fabric trends
Audrey Eloi, textile designer for the Sunbrella brand, reveals the trends in marine upholstery fabrics. In charge of creating and developing Sunbrella collections for the marine and upholstery markets, she also assists Sunbrella customers with their projects by suggesting various textile furnishings for boats.
Designed to complement each other, the Sunbrella Marine and Ameublement collections follow common trends. This is in response to a major textile trend observed in the marine market, from which stems the current trends and styles in boat fabrics.
1 - The boat, a real second home that calls for travel
Photo: Lagoon 55 - Nicolas Claris
The current trend is to make the boat a real home on the water, or even a mobile secondary home. This is why particular care is taken with furnishing, decoration, the choice of marine upholstery fabrics, and the manufacturing details.
“Textile trends in the marine market follow residential decorative trends: the notions of comfort, well-being at home, a return to one's roots and serenity are at the heart of aspirations and trends, both in the marine world and in the home world”
stresses A. Eloi, hence the desire to develop the Ameublement and Marine collections in a transversal way.
And when we say boat, we mean travel, escape: homes and boats are increasingly becoming places of peace, in particular by inviting users to travel and escape from their daily lives. “This trend translates into a desire to break down the walls between interior and exterior in order to create a stronger connection to nature which encourages relaxation and rest” explains the textile designer. “The trendy colours bring to mind the infinite number of colours that can be found in nature”
2 - Colours, textures and prints for marine upholstery fabrics which are both beautiful and easy-going
Photo: Edouard Auffray – Sunbrella®
The properties and colours of seat fabrics and other textiles used on boats must first be selected on the basis of their usefulness: it's therefore the use that dictates the choice of marine fabrics. The following questions should therefore be asked: What will they cover or protect? Where on the boat? Who is going to use them?
“For a sun lounger for example, avoid choosing a colour that is too dark to avoid burning. The fabric should be comfortable as it will be in direct contact with the skin, and it will encourage rest and relaxation. It will be subjected to intense sun exposure in a nautical environment, so colour fastness and durability are paramount. It shouldn't fade after numerous exposures to the sun on a boat, in a marine environment” explains A. Eloi.
Next comes choosing the boat's fabric design: here, particular attention is paid to the materials that make up the boat: the woodwork, the colour of the hull and the details of the boat's finish. “The fabric must enhance a room, or a piece of furniture,” says the Sunbrella designer. “It is wise to define a colour range so that all colours blend well together and create an atmosphere in which we feel good, while at the same time being in keeping with the owner's tastes”. Upholstery fabrics are an essential element on a boat: they should provoke the desire to relax while bringing identity and character to the boat. They capture attention and help create a personal environment. “They bring pleasure, a beautiful emotion and contribute to well-being at home, particularly thanks to their soft touch” adds A. Eloi.
3 - Sustainability and performance, for a choice of marine upholstery fabrics that is rooted in a conscious approach
Photo: X-Power 33C - X-Yachts
Buying less but better is a general trend in both the upholstery and marine fabric markets. Consumers don't want to have to change fabrics every year, hence the emphasis on durability and quality of textiles.
“Durability is synonymous with quality in the minds of our customers. For upholstery fabrics, fade and stain resistance and water repellency help fabrics to be preserved for a long time while maintaining their colour and brightness. Ensuring mould resistance is essential for marine fabrics. Consumers need to have confidence in the performance of their fabrics when choosing a fabric to last. And it's also thanks to this confidence that we can guarantee them everyday comfort and peace of mind” explains A. Eloi.
As places of transport and living, they must also be easy to live in and easy to clean. “We are seeing more and more imitation leather textiles with woven aspects” says the designer.
This search for sustainability echoes the quest for a connection to nature that can be seen in the Marine and Upholstery trends: “Consumers are increasingly aware of their impact on the environment and are looking for eco-designed materials that are designed to last”, says A. Eloi. “They need to find solutions for a better life and to have a positive impact on the environment.”
4 - Marine upholstery fabrics that tell a story
Photo: Assistance from our Design Studio for Nautitech Catamarans - 44 Open
Beautiful, durable and comfortable, boat upholstery fabrics are also meant to evoke emotion and tell a story. These are essential elements to enhance the end user experience.
This is why the Sunbrella Marine design team supports its customers in their boat furnishing projects, to increase the comfort of their future users, but also to work on developing the boat's identity. “Through the creation of mood boards and inspirational images, we help the customer to visualise. We suggest not only atmospheres but also materials, colours, details etc. Then we define a range of colours in association with the materials that make up the boat, in keeping with the customer's brand image” explains the Sunbrella designer.
Once these guidelines have been defined and validated with the client, the work of our designers can continue: “There is a broad range of design possibilities, as our Sunbrella fabrics are intended for both indoor and outdoor applications. We recommend several different textures in addition to one that allows us to imagine a wide variety of looks, from sober monochrome to shades through the combination of bold colours” she concludes.
The textiles we have on offer are therefore designed for the complete furnishing of marine upholstery fabrics, whatever the size of the boat, which offers infinite possibilities in terms of textile combinations, designs and materials so that each customer can express their identity and provide a memorable and unique experience for its users.