cotton and steel

In a press release sent to quilt shops today RJR Fabrics announced that the original Cotton+Steel designers will be leaving the company. The collections released at Spring Quilt Market will be their last.

Cotton+Steel is a wholly owned division of RJR fabrics and was founded in 2013 by designers Melody Miller, Rashida Coleman-Hale, Alexia Abegg, Kim Kight, and Sarah Watts. Working collaboratively they created modern fabric collections that mixed and matched season after season. Each designer had her own style but used a color palette and themes that complimented one another. The fabrics had collectible selvages with pop culture appeal. They were also quick to add substrates suitable for garment sewing.

Cotton+Steel employed innovative marketing techniques right from the start. They launched with a highly produced video introducing each designer and showing consumers the factory where the fabrics are made. Their Quilt Market booths captured the imagination of modern quilters and their aesthetic seemed to hit all the right notes. Cotton+Steel worked with Sulky to create a thread line and with Bernina on two branded sewing machines.

In recent years the team has collaborated with guest artists including Anna Bond of Rifle Paper, illustrator Christian Robinson, and this spring printmaker Jen Hewett.

In the press release, RJR stated that Cotton+Steel will continue without the founding designers. In the fall the division will “premier new faces and exciting new designs” as well as a new collection from Rifle Paper Company. RJR did not respond to our request for an interview this afternoon.

On her Instagram feed yesterday designer Kim Kight wrote, “We believe in ourselves, and we believe in you. You are amazing and we’ve loved every minute of creating fabric for you. Thank you for all your kindness, enthusiasm, friendship, and support. We won’t’ ever forget it. This has been a difficult decision, and we haven’t made lightly. You are the best and we love you. If you know anything about us, you know we have plans.”

In an email to us this afternoon Melody Miller wrote, “Today is a sad day. We’re so proud of the work we’ve done as Cotton+Steel, and grateful to RJR for giving us the opportunity to do something that was fresh, innovative, and deeply personal. The Cotton+Steel brand was an extension of ourselves, and we’ve given it the best of our talents, energy, and vision over the last five years.”

She went on to say, “We value each other, and we value this industry. You haven’t seen the last of us. We want our fans to know how much we love and appreciate them, and not to worry, fabric is in our future.”

Editor’s Note: We have now posted a longer story detailing why these five designers chose to leave RJR. You can find that story here.

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