Combine and Conquer: Two Industry Leaders Team Up to Create the Theater Curtain of the Future

The recent collaboration between Rose Brand®, a leader in the theatrical curtain market, and Milliken Specialty Interiors on developing and launching the new ReVive™ sustainable theater curtains is evidence of the power of partnership in creating market-changing products that fill gaps and drive progress.

Rose Brand knows the theater market inside and out.  They know that the market is generally socially and environmentally conscious. They also know that standards are high, funds are tight, and the fear of greenwashing runs high. When Milliken Specialty Interiors approached them in Spring of 2018 with an eco-elegant, 70 percent recycled fiber fabric option for curtains, they were initially a bit skeptical.

The fabric would be part of Milliken Specialty Interiors’ popular Breathe by Milliken™ collection of sustainable and GREENGUARD® Gold certified fabrics made using minimal chemistry and polyester fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles.  While the Breathe collection has been well-received in the home interiors market, this would be the first use of the fabric in a theatrical application.

“We’ve been approached with so-called recycled fabrics for years, but none lived up to its billing,” said Joshua Alemany, director of products, Rose Brand. “We were thrilled to find Breathe by Milliken™ had a legitimate and compelling sustainability story, with each yard of fabric diverting up to 12 plastic bottles from a landfill.  However, in our industry, that is simply not enough. The fabric has to meet our industry’s unique and exacting requirements, especially in the areas of opacity, sheen, durability, and, of course, price point.”

ReVive.pngThat’s where Milliken Specialty Interiors’ expertise in fabric construction and textile engineering came in.  While fabric made from recycled plastic bottles tends to be somewhat glossy, the Milliken team developed the yarn, fabric, and finish to eliminate sheen.  They also adjusted the tightness of the knit to create a very dense construction that will not allow light to bleed through, a trait critical in theater settings.

In addition to collaborating on making key changes to the fabric to address market needs, the product development teams at Rose Brand and Milliken Specialty Interiors were also careful to incorporate elements of what worked well in Milliken’s popular Encore® theater curtains, in terms of offering a stable fabric construction that will not stretch or distort and remains clean.

“Milliken Specialty Interiors made it easy for us:  We initially discussed the product in Spring of 2018, and by the following February, Milliken had delivered a beta product that only required minor adjustments,” added Alemany. “After making these adjustments, we knew we wanted to include the fabric in our upcoming catalog, but only had two months to meet the deadline.  The Milliken team stepped up again to develop lab dips on color selections right away for us to approve as colorways for the new fabric, and they expedited production.  Thanks to their efforts, we had inventory on the shelf by November, in time for our biggest trade show, LDI.

The result of this collaboration is ReVive: a beautiful, strong and sustainable curtain that meets internal sustainability and LEED mandates, improves indoor air quality and creates more environmentally friendly, healthier spaces without sacrificing aesthetics or performance. Market reception for the product has been very positive, with ReVive being honored as the Best Debuting Product at LDI 2019.

ReVive_Curtain.pngWhile ReVive is somewhat more expensive than other fabric options, Rose Brand has found the premium to be negligible to customers in light of the product’s sustainability benefits. In fact, Alemany notes that many Rose Brand customers report that ReVive’s strong sustainability story has allowed them to sell projects like behind the scenes masking replacement that might normally be pushed off year after year, to their Boards and donors.

“We work with mills all over the world, and very few come anywhere close to Milliken’s ability to understand and respond to our unique needs and to go the extra mile to help us grow,” Alemany continued. “Rose Brand is expert in marketing and selling, and our best partners are expert in engineering and manufacturing.  Milliken was able to take on our product brief and deliver on it quickly and flawlessly.”

Finding the right partner is critical in any business endeavor.  When you find one who is able to truly innovate and to deliver on vision and dedicated to exceeding expectations, great things happen.  Through the power of partnership, Rose Brand and Milliken Specialty Interiors have combined not just to make the theater curtain of the future, but a difference.

For more information on ReVive, please visit: www.rosebrand.com. To learn more about how Milliken Specialty Interiors can partner with you to drive growth, go to www.millikenspecialtyinteriors.com.