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Performance Fabrics


High performance fabrics meet high energy homes.

The ever-expanding range of high performance fabrics makes it easy to find the performance fabric furniture that works best for you. What exactly is a high performance fabric? It’s fabric that’s engineered to provide extra peace of mind and protection from stains as well as beauty, durability and worry-free living. These fabrics are designed to last a long time, take a serious amount of wear, and look great doing it. The actual construction of performance fabrics varies, too. In many performance fabrics, a fiber is saturated with UV pigments during the spinning, knitting, or weaving processes. For others, the fabric undergoes an immersion treatment for a performance finish that adds a protective coating.

More recognizable names

Performance fabric examples include brands like Sunbrella, Revolution, and LiveSmart. Their performance characteristics come primarily through the content of the fibers from which they are woven. LiveSmart and Sunbrella fabrics also feature repellency, so that liquids bead up and roll off.

What makes the Sunbrella fabrics so sought-after is that they are stylish, comfortable, durable, stain-resistant and easy to clean. They also offer UV and fade resistance as well as mold and mildew resistant properties. Sunbrella uses 100 percent acrylic fibers that have the color blended into the fiber during its liquid state, known as “solution-dyed”. This means the fibers have color all the way through - like a carrot. Other fibers have the dye applied after the fibers are formed - so the color is a coating, like a radish.

Revolution fabrics are a great "green" option in the world of performance fabrics as they are not treated with chemicals. Olefin is dyed without the use of water and requires almost no land and water for production (see website for more detail). Instead, Revolution fabrics are woven in the USA using upcycled fibers – produced from what was formerly waste, providing the smallest carbon footprint of any upholstery fiber. Using an extrusion process, fibers are mixed with pigments and dyes before they are extruded, so that color goes all the way through each fiber. Along with being easy to clean, Revolution fabrics are also stain and fade resistant.

LiveSmart fabrics combine performance fibers with performance finishes to make them durable and stain resistant. Fabrics are protected from their center (like from our radish comparison above), making spills bead to the top and easy to wipe up.

Residential Performance

Bassett offers additional performance fabrics to achieve the range of aesthetics, performance and price points needed for our assortment. These brands are respected by industry insiders, yet newer to the residential market, and not yet as recognizable. These include Flak Jacket, B Strong, and Regal Performance.

Poly/cotton Flak Jacket, B Strong, and poly/linen Regal Performance fabrics derive their protective properties primarily from an immersion treatments that allow liquids to bead up on the surface for easy cleanability. Each

What’s important?

The aesthetics of color, hand and texture are critical aspects of performance fabrics, followed by more practical benefits like durability, stain resistance, repellency and fade resistance.

  • Durability refers to how the fabric stands up to abrasion from daily use; how it maintains its appearance.
  • Stain resistance is about preventing spills from permanently staining the fabric and allowing for easy spot removal.
  • Repellency is how liquids bead up on the surface and roll off, so they’re more easily wiped up and not absorbed into the surface.
  • Fade resistance minimizes the loss of color by fabric exposure to sunlight (indirect sunlight or even artificial lighting).

Performance fabric vs. leather?

Performance fabric furniture is almost always going to have comfort, care, color and pattern options, and cost on its list of pros, where leather gets the nod for being inherently durable, luxuriously comfortable, hypoallergenic (pet dander, dust mites, and anti-other allergens can’t find a home here), and easy to maintain with simple dusting and a damp cloth. The natural beauty of leather is a plus, and most leathers will fade somewhat with exposure to sunlight, and age gracefully, developing a fine patina.

To answer the question you’re dying to ask: No, not all performance fabrics are created equal. And not all performance fabrics have all four qualities. So, the performance fabric you choose truly depends on your lifestyle, and your needs. Have kids? A pet who would Rock-Paper-Scissors you to get a seat on the sofa? A family of messy popcorn eaters addicted to movie nights? If you can check one (or all) of the above, ask yourself these questions:
“How do I intend to use this room?”
“What is most important to me: durability, stain resistance, repellency or fade resistance?”

Shop online or come in-store to meet with a Bassett Design Consultant who can help you decide what’s right for you.


Fabric Workroom
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