Published in Real Life Magazine

By Alisa Bowen


Material World


Endless days of searing sun and tropical heat, mixed with the relentless Caribbean humidity and the inevitable rainy season, require smart design for outdoor rooms and sunny sanctuaries. Fortunately, for those in the Tropics a new era of all-weather fabrics have pitted beauty and brawn against the elements for innovative performance fabrics that repel stains, wick away moisture, are fade and mold resistant and chlorine proof. Thanks to new weaving and finishing techniques, alfresco fabrics are on par with traditional upholstery textiles sporting exciting, sophisticated designs from daring damasks, sunny stripes, seascapes and nods to nature with tropical colors and earth-inspired motifs. No longer resigned to the realm of bland utilitarian fabrics, outdoor materials fuse fashion and function, extending the living room to encompass outdoor living spaces, and in turn enlivening them with hip, inviting textiles that are practical to boot.


Fabrics by

Making a big splash poolside with fabrics specifically designed for Caribbean climates, high-end textile companies, such as Kravet, Christopher Farr, Duralee, Link Outdoor and Designers Guild are leading the charge with textiles resistant to stains, mildew and fading as well as being water-repellent, inherently anti-microbial and easy to clean. These colorfast textiles are made from 100% solution dyed fibers to withstand years of exposure to sun, rain and even chlorine. Bleach cleanable, they are durable and intended for heavy-duty residential use. Solution dying means that color is added to the fibers while they are in a liquid state during the manufacturing process so that the dye is integrated into the fiber, allowing it to withstand the cruel Caribbean elements and still retain its color and texture. Colorfast fabrics are not only sensible for outdoor spaces, but also prevent fading on window seats, window treatments and furniture cushions that receive extreme sun-exposure.


Fabrics by

With a heady choice of designs from modern abstracts to vintage floral, animal prints or adventurous paisley, cheering up the outside has never been easier. Think delicate lime colored lattice-printed pillows, jovial sky blue sofa loungers, spill-proof coral slipcovers or electric yellow throws. Add all-weather drapes to the sunny side of the terrace and you can drop them down without fear of fading. Create an appealing shady gathering space with stunning stripes or a playful print that can endure hours of glaring sun. Given that these modern materials are perfectly suited for tropical living and able to brave harsh outdoor elements for years on end, adding a fresh twist to outdoor décor is a snap.


Fabrics by

With all the choices in the ever-evolving material world there has not been a better, nor more inviting time, to live outside the box. So au revoir to dull patio furniture of yesteryear – and hello to funky floral and original abstracts advancing outdoor design into a new fashion-forward era under the sun.


Cushions by Fabrics by

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  • © 2012-2020 Alisa Marie Coccari All Rights Reserved

    All writing is copyright of Permission to use any such content will be both requested/granted in writing. Photography will only be used with written permission from the photographer and/or source. Alisa Marie Coccari has also been published under the nom de plume, Alisa Bowen.
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