Bed linen on the rise as flannel sales soar
BY MARK, MENSWEAR, HOME & ELECTRICALS EDITOR ON 18 JAN 2013 14:39 HOME & GARDENCOMMENTS
Traditional flannel bed sheets, which kept millions of British households warm during World War II, are soaring in popularity once again, new sales figures have revealed.
Demand for bed linen made from the cosy, naturally warm fabric are rising rapidly because heating bills are now so expensive.
So great is the trend that flannel sheets are now out selling many silk varieties – long regarded as essential for seduction and success in the bedroom.
Some of the most popular bed linen at Debenhams includes Debenhams purple ‘Wallace Stripe’ bed linen, Matthew Williamson’s purple ‘Peacock’ bedding set, Julien Macdonald’s gold ‘Gabriella’ satin trim bed linen and Ben de Lisi’s grey ‘Hot Off The Press’ bedding set
Ed Watson, spokesperson for Debenhams, said: “Customers are snuggling up to a piece of British history once again.
“When asked to choose between romance and heat, thousands of men and women have decided that keeping their bits and bobs toasty and warm is far more important than anything else.”
The surge in sales in the first time that flannel sheets have become popular in Britain for almost 60 years.
The natural texture of flannel sheets holds tiny pockets of air between bed and sleeper – the ideal design to trap heat, regardless of the freezing weather outside.
For decades they had been the bed linen of choice in homes where central heating was unheard of, and the only heat came from a single fire in the kitchen.
However, the introduction of new, man-made materials following post-war shortages of natural products saw flannel sheets sales begin to decline in the 1960s and early 70s.
Nylon, with its crease proof qualities, became popular with new households where working mothers no longer had time to iron, despite their well earned reputation for giving restless sleepers a sharp shock from static electricity.
Cotton sheets became popular in the 1980s with worldwide production making even the finest weaves affordable for the first time. The increasing popularity of central heating spurred demand still further as customers opted for bed linen with a cooler feel.
Silk sheets whose vivid colours made the message from the bedroom abundantly clear first became all the rage in the 1990s reflecting the reign of the Medallion Man as well the tastes of popular footballers and their wives.
Experts believe that the current demand for flannel has been created by the soaring cost of heating our homes.
The rising popularity of flannel sheets has matched, almost precisely, the never ending list of price hikes which have made electricity and gas almost 80 per cent more expensive than they were five years ago.
Ed Watson continued: “Customers have discovered that buying cosy, traditional flannel bed linen is much, much cheaper than leaving their central heating on in the bedroom all night.
“They tell us that there’s a wonderful sense of comfort when slipping between flannel sheets, a feeling of being snugly wrapped and looked after which doesn’t come from any other material. They’re the ideal answer to tough times.”