KOTHEA PR

We have been lucky enough to be getting quite a lot of coverage of our new ranges for 2009. This year we decided to have a gradual month-by-month release of new designs rather than the usual Spring and Autumn collections…we’re not a clothes fashion company after all.

Have a look at some of our thoughts on the year ahead as shown in the excellent on-line design directory The House Directory. An excerpt from the MARCH 2009 edition is shown below.

For a sneak preview of some of our new fabrics we have a 2009 flickr feed.

March 2009 :: KOTHEA Release New Interior Fabric

KOTHEA Release New Fabric For Interiors

LONDON, England. 02-MAR-2009 11.30 AM: KOTHEA today announced it has expanded its product range by the addition of KODEKOBA, a fabric suitable for domestic upholstery. KODEKOBA has an unusual weave and texture. The striking weave makes the fabric highly suited for high visibility areas.

KODEKOBA

Reference: 02-001-386
Colour Shown: Light Brown
Other colourways: 3
Width: 140cm
Repeat: None
Composition: 55% Cotton, 26% Viscose, 9% Polyester.
Martindale: 18,000 ‘rubs’
Primary Usage: Residential upholstery & Cushions.
Type of fabric: Textured Weave

About KOTHEA.

KOTHEA are a top-market fabric house based in London serving customers throughout all of Europe and The Middle East. Founded in 1999 they have since continued to develop and sell an extensive range of timeless fabrics to the top architects, interior- and yacht-designers for projects ranging from mega-yachts to boutique hotels and from luxury spas to penthouses.

KOTHEA operate on a trade-only basis and their fabrics are available to the public through interior designers and specialist interior design shops such as Gotham, Interiors Bis and Fiona Campbell. KOTHEA also supply beautiful hand-woven linen fabrics and finished goods – throws and table linen.

KOTHEA’s trade customers would perceive their signature fabrics to include several ranges of velvet including the exclusive ‘cashmere silk velvet’, silks, linens, double-width sheers, faux leather and interesting weaves for upholstery often with high Martindale ‘rub tests’ making them highly suited to both contract and residential projects.

Founder and Executive Director, Lisa Parsons started KOTHEA more than 10 years ago after 11 highly successful years with Nobilis Fontan in Chelsea and Donghia in Chelsea Harbour. She says, “At KOTHEA we like to think we bring something a little different to the market. Our difference will be reflected in our customers’ eyes by unusual fabrics that complement our core fabric ranges; all augmented by our excellent levels of customers service, market knowledge and attention to detail.”

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For Further Information
Please visit the company web site at https://www.kothea.com

Trademarks
KOTHEA is a registered trade mark of KOTHEA Limited. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

UK & European Fire Treatment For Interior Fabrics

Without exception, no fabric company can self-certify the fire retardancy of their fabrics. That can only be undertaken by a UKAS Accredited Test Laboratory. The following is KOTHEA’s summary of Textiles FR’s document “The Flame Retardancy Of Textiles” and, for detailed advice on the exact current legislative requirements, the reader should consult Textiles FR on 01274 651230.

1. Domestic

a. Curtains – No treatment is required.
b. Upholstery – The fabric must be treated to reach the match test (BS5852: Part1: 1979: Source 1).
The designer must first check the fabric passes the cigarette test (BS5852: Part1: 1979: Source 0).

Note:
The cigarette test meets the equivalent European standard BS EN 1021-1.
The match test meets the equivalent European standard BS EN 1021-2.
Fabrics containing 75% mixed-natural or natural fibre content do not usually require treating as they normally pass ‘the cigarette test’. You must use a Schedule 3 interliner (fire retardant to CRiB 5) though.

2. Contract

a. Curtains – The fabric must be treated to BS5867: Part 2: Type B.
Some fabrics meet this standard naturally, most do not. Some fabrics cannot be treated for this standard.
b. Upholstery – The fabric must be treated to BS5852: 1990: Source 5 (CRiB 5).
This involves the fabric being back coated and most fabrics can be treated in this way.

Note:
BS7176 covers BS5852: 1990. And BS5852: 1990 covers BS5852: Part 1: 1979 and BS 5852: Part 2: 1982. So the info above in 2b is correct. This treatment meets European standards.

3. Other Uses
Headboards, bed covers, wall coverings, yachting and aviation may have differing requirements.

There is a broad equivalence of British and European standards. However, the standards for the USA are different from Europe.

Revised PR Description for KOCHENCAT

The following is a more wordy description of our new fabric KOCHENCAT. The original text is here. A more wordy version requested for Super Yacht Times:

KOTHEA introduces KOCHENCAT, a versatile and extravagant fabric delivering understated excellence for designers in the yacht, spa and boutique hotel markets.

An extensive colour palette covering 27 colours gives colour options for every interior. Gold, lime, charcoal, taupe and ivory complement all discerning schemes and the luxurious feel of a fabric mixed with chenille and cotton delights all the senses.

Combine beauty with practicality and you get KOCHENCAT. This versatile, textured weave is suitable for demanding environments; it has the superb durability demonstrated by high Martindale ‘rub’ characteristics and can be further treated to resist the demands of water and heat – as is always expected in the yacht and hospitality industries. It is equally at home as upholstery, as panelling or as curtain material.

Versatility, beauty, dependability: KOCHENCAT.

Synthetic Dyes and Their Development

If you’re reading this you’ve probably already read my very brief history of natural dyes. The rest of the following discussion is not quite so brief and does get quite technical in a chemical sense but I’ve tried to omit as much of that as possible to make the information accessible to normal readers like you and me.

Within the space of 50 years, mankind had changed almost totally from natural dyes to synthetic ones. Phase 1 of this change was the addition of Chromium. The subsequent, often parallel, phases are discussed below with a bias towards how they apply to fabrics.

The 8 subsequent developments of synthetic dyes from Chromium onwards are:
(1. Chromium)
2. Triphenylmethane dyes
3. Anthraquinone dyes
4. Xanthene and related dyes
5. Azo dyes
6. Reactive dyes
7. Phthalocyanine compounds
8. Quinacridone compounds
9. Fluorescent brighteners

Phase 2: Triphenylmethane dyes

In 1858 Verguin (France) discovers ‘fuchsine’ a rose coloured dye made from aniline and tin chloride. This was the first of a series of dyes later called Triphenylmethanes and this marked the second phase of the growth of the synthetic dye industry. Adding excess aniline made aniline blue. Soon other variations were discovered and the chemistry understood; and before 1900 several hundred colours had been documented.

One problem with these dyes was solubility. That was overcome by the addition of sulphuric acid.

Phase 3: Anthraquinone dyes

In the 1850s and 1860s, the understanding of how carbon is structured (tetravalency) led to scientists being able to plan how chemicals might react before doing the experiments. Alizarin and its derivatives (the anthraquinones) gave a huge number of dyes which constitute the second biggest grouping of dyes.

The addition of sulphur created a group of bright, fast dyes for wool. Indrathone blue, a brilliant blue vat dye, was discovered at the turn of the century and related compounds are still today used as pigments spanning colours from blue to yellow.

Phase 4: Xanthene related dyes

Fluorescein was discovered in 1871 but related discoveries were seldom used with fabrics until the late 1880s when some were used for silk. However, the dyes had poor lightfastness and usage was stopped – only to be re-used 70 years later when they were found to be particularly good on acrylic fibres. Better products have been found since and now only one chemical dye in this class is used commercially (Safranine T).

Phase 5: Azo dyes

These form more than half of the commercial dyes used today.

The key is the reaction of nitrous acid with arylamine and then with phenols and arylamines. This chemical reaction forms part of the production process of 50% of dyes in use today having been used since 1875, firstly for wool.

Methyl- related azo dyes were used extensively up until the 1970s but this has now stopped in many countries as they were carcinogenic.

The discovery of the azo dyes led to the development of a method called ingrain dyeing. Here the dye is ‘made’ within the fabric. Since the process was carried out at around freezing point, some dyes were called ice colours. In 1912 Naphtol was found to form a water-soluble compound with an affinity for cotton, a major step in the development of the ingrain dyes. Naphtol is able to form a great number of possible end colours although many of these are not adequately colourfast.

Other Azo dyes became the most important commercial colourants because of their wide colour range, good fastness properties, and tinctorial strength (colour density), which is twice that of the anthraquinones, the second most important group of dyes. Azo dyes are easily prepared from many readily available, inexpensive compounds and meet the demands of a wide range of end uses. Cost advantages tend to offset the fact that these are less brilliant and less lightfast than the anthraquinones.

Phase 6: Reactive dyes

Reactive dyes are very adaptable and can create a huge number of colours.

The first reactive dyes utilized monoazo for bright yellow and red shades. Adding aniline gave the azo dye used in the first Procion Red.

Dichlorotriazinyl dyes are now produced by more than 30 dye manufacturers since the early patents on these dyes have expired.

With the introduction of reactive dyes, cotton could finally be dyed in bright shades with azo dyes for yellows to reds, with anthraquinones for blues, and with copper phthalocyanines for bright turquoise colours.

Phase 7: Phthalocyanine compounds

Phthalocyanines, the most important chromium derivatives developed in the 20th century being introduced in 1934 and marketed as Monastral Fast Blue B and Monastral Fast Blue G.

Copper phthalocyanine is the most important and can be formed directly on cotton. Although not useful for PET and acrylics, some complexes are utilized with nylon. Chemical bleaching alters the shade to bluish-green and green.

Water-soluble versions were developed later by the introduction of sulphur-based chemicals also producing a direct dye for cotton (Chlorantine Fast Turquoise Blue Gll), the first commercial phthalocyanine dye.

Such colourants all display strong, bright blue to green shades with remarkable chemical stability. These compounds exhibit excellent lightfastness, and their properties are in striking contrast to those of natural pigments that are destroyed by intense light or heat and mild chemical reagents. The high stability, strength, and brightness of the phthalocyanines render them cost-effective, illustrated by the wide use of blue and green labels on many products.

Phase 8: Quinacridone compounds

A second group of pigments developed in the 20th century were the quinacridone compounds. Quinacridone itself was introduced in 1958. Its seven crystalline forms range in colour from yellowish-red to violet.

Phase 9: Fluorescent brighteners

Raw natural fibres, paper, and plastics tend to appear yellowish because of weak light absorption. Bleaching can reduce this but the bleach must be mild to avoid damaging the material. Alternatively, a bluing agent can mask the yellowish tint to make the material ‘appear’ whiter (hence the phrase a ‘bluey whiteness’), or the material can be treated with a fluorescent compound that weakly emits blue visible light. These compounds, also called “optical brighteners,” they are not dyes in the usual sense. The major industrial applications are as textile finishers, pulp and paper brighteners.

Well done for getting this far!

Press Release 02 Feb 2009

KOTHEA Release New Fabric For Interiors
 
Full details of the Press release, including images, are given here. A more wordy version is here.

A Summary Is Given Below

LONDON, England. 01-FEB-2009 12.30 AM: KOTHEA today announced it has expanded its product range by the addition of KOCHENCAT, an upholstery, panelling and curtain fabric suitable for both contract and residential usage.

Name: KOCHENCAT
Reference: 19-002-431
Colour Shown: Red
Total Colourways: 27
Width: 140cm
Martindale: 50,000 ‘rubs’.
Usage: Curtains. Upholstery. Panelling.
Type of fabric:  Textured Weave.
Composition: 49% Cotton. 31% Polyester. 20% Chenille.

Dyes and Pigments in Fabric

A Brief History of Natural Dyes (Mordants)

A dye is a substance that gives colour to the fabric. Usually in a way such that washing, heating or lighting does not change the colour greatly.

Dyes tend to be carbon-based (ie organic in a chemical sense) whereas pigments are very fine powders ‘dissolved’ in a liquid. Pigments generally give brighter colours and are man-made.

Dyes have existed for at least 4000 years and, before 1850, were almost entirely from natural sources such as plants, trees and lichens but also sometimes from insects. Here are some natural dyes, rarely used today, and their sources:

1. Yellow
Seeds, stems and leaves of the weld plant
The inner bark of the North American oak ‘quercetin’
Dried petals of false saffron (safflower)

2. Red
Crushed insect bodies from Coccus (cochineal) or it’s distant relation Kermes.

3. Blue
From indigo or woad

4. Purple
From the medium-sized predatory sea snail ‘commonly’ known as Murex.

5. Black
From the middle wood of the Logwood tree. This is still used today to dye silk and leather and is combined with Chromium. I have written other articles about how this ‘natural’ dye is one of the most damaging to the environment because of the use of chromium.

The art of the dye was historically a closely guarded secret with practitioners having their formulae to produce the colours and to retain them by the addition of various metal salts.

Cotton could not be directly dyed whereas wool and silk could. To add a dye to cotton the cotton had to be first treated with salts made from aluminium (red), magnesium (violet), tin, calcium (purple-red), copper, barium (blue) and iron (black-violet) and then dyed. These salts are called mordants.

The Start Of Synthetic Dyes

In the 1850s Chromium was found to give superior dye retention and so started the decline of the natural dye. Chromium mordants are still widely used for wool and less so for silk and nylon.

More precisely, the first commercially successful dye was ‘mauve’ discovered in England in 1856 and taken to market the following year. It was only sold for about 7 years but that was sufficient to start the dramatic decline of natural dyes and the investment in the science for newer and better dyes.

The Chromium discovery meshed well with the Industrial Revolution. The massively growing textile industry in Europe required a cheap and predictable manufacturing process. Natural dyes and mordants could require up to 20 steps in production, the colour could be variable and the dyes had to be transported unreliably from around the world. Because of these factors and the development of chemical science, it is easy to see how by-products of coal tar extraction & coke production, abundant in Europe, became the foundation of the modern dye industry.

By 1900 nearly 90 per cent of industrial dyes were synthetic.

Pre-war (WWI) Germany dominated the commercial dye market accounting for 90% of all output. Many German scientists worked with distilled chemicals from coal tar, an abundant by-product of the industrial revolution at the time. The German success was probably due to their investment in the scientific method and in training scientists themselves. Some further ‘by-products’ of the research include aspirin and saccharin.

After WWI the industry gravitated to Britain (ICI), the USA and Switzerland, also moving away from coal tar to petroleum-based research.

Perhaps only now with the ‘green’ movement are we seeing a resurgence of interest in natural dyes. KOTHEA cautions the environmentally-conscious reader to look carefully at claims of dyes to be natural. Whilst they may well be made from natural materials the processes used along the way can be VERY damaging to the environment.

Interior Design Directories

The myriad of design sites on the internet makes it difficult for trade professionals to find the most suitable products for their projects.

The most well known and used site is The House Directory. Whilst accessible to everyone, this site remains an invaluable resource for all interior design professionals. The site was improved further with a full re-design in 2008 and subsequently re-launched. The site comprises a large database of over 3,000 companies covering all aspects of interior and garden design and decoration with a beautifully presented interface to the web. Cheryl and Nicolette at The House Directory are rightfully proud of their creation and boast the highest-ranked site for interior decoration directories in the world (Source: Google). The House Directory was formerly House & Garden Addresses.

Home & Gardening Magazine also have a creditable online directory.

Yet another promising new directory is the Technical Library Services showcase Savoir-Faire. This is well designed and looks promising for the future.

For a wider range of architectural products, the RIBA Product Selector would be the place to go.

For those designers specifically interested in top market fabrics including silks, linens, mohair velvets, faux leathers and the like then we would definitely recommend The House Directory or contact the companies directly.