Sophisticated Spaces: Zooming in on Zarin Fabrics

Zarin Fabrics, a Lower East Side institution, has defied New York real estate trends to celebrate its 80th anniversary this year. The largest provider of discounted fabrics in the tri-state area and one of the largest across the country, Zarin Fabrics remains a family-run business that continues to grow and expand with each new year. When Harry Zarin opened the business in 1936, he operated out of a pushcart on Orchard Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side with a vision of creating a one-stop-shop for all things fabric-related.

Bobby, Jill, and David Zarin
Bobby, Jill, and David Zarin

Within a generation, his vision came to fruition: Harry’s son Bobby Zarin, and his grandson and company President David Zarin, joined the family business and developed it to include multiple storefronts on the Lower East Side, while positioning it as the go-to store for fabric, fabric supplies, and DIY re-upholstery tools. Bobby’s wife, Jill Zarin (one of the original “Real Housewives of New York City” for four seasons) is brand ambassador. A-listers like Taylor Swift, Jessica Lange, Emma Watson, and Roberta Flack have stepped through their doors, and their product has been featured on hit shows like “Madame Secretary,” “The Knick,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Girls,” and “Law & Order,” as well as many Broadway productions.

Exclusively for BELLA, Bobby Zarin opens the doors of this three-floor fabric wonderland and shares the secrets of their longevity and success…

Zarin Fabrics is about to celebrate its 80th anniversary. What do you feel has contributed to your success? There are many things, but I think the most important one is the people who work at Zarin Fabrics, many of whom have been here for over 20 years. They have the experience that cannot be replicated by hiring a designer who just graduated from school. This experience covers all aspects of the business from choosing the right fabric for a particular project to ensuring that a custom window treatment or upholstery job is fabricated perfectly, which requires more knowledge than most consumers and even interior designers realize. In addition to experience, we also provide a friendly environment to shop in, which leads to great customer service.

Do you have any special events lined up to celebrate the anniversary? We recently became the exclusive New York retailer for Robert Allen’s Madcap Cottage line of fabrics, and had the dynamo team behind the line, Jason Oliver Nixon and John Loecke, on hand for a launch party recently.  Bringing a brand name into our famous fabric warehouse was a new concept for us, and our customers can expect more to come! We are also planning a fall event for our 80th anniversary!

What’s the best part of running a family business? As a family business, we have the flexibility to work without constraints. This means we can bring in all sorts of wonderful fabrics even if they don’t fit within a certain line. This is a major reason why so many interior designers, set decorators, and homeowners shop with us. The smart ones come to us first, but the ones who can’t find what they are looking for while perusing through samples at fabric showrooms will usually find something that works for them at Zarin Fabrics.

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What’s hot right now? What emerging home decor trends are you seeing? In juxtaposition to each other, stark contrasting colors will be big — think blacks with whites. And on the other side of the spectrum, soft, soothing colors will dominate in homes and hospitality. Also, the use of fabric for window treatments is really showing strength. Instead of blinds and roller shades, we are seeing a big increase in the use of Roman Shades with draping covering the windows from wall to wall.

Do you offer anything besides fabric? We do any custom work that utilizes fabric, from window treatments to upholstery and decorative pillows. We also have a full floor of upholstery supplies and decorative hardware for window treatments, including all track systems, which we can customize. We also opened a new showroom at 69 Orchard Street that contains a curated collection of furniture and home décor items.

Can we find current designer fabrics at your lower East Side fabric warehouse? Yes! In fact, many people who haven’t shopped with us in a long time are surprised to see that while we still carry beautiful discontinued fabrics at very reasonable prices compared to fabric showrooms, we also have thousands of current, re-orderable designer fabrics. These fabrics can run up to $200 per yard, but are still relatively inexpensive compared to similar fabrics that one would have to order and possibly wait weeks for at the fabric showrooms. In the off chance one cannot find what they like in stock at our warehouse, we also have one of the largest libraries of fabric books in NYC. When you come to Zarin Fabrics you won’t have to go anywhere else!

For more information, visit ZarinFabrics.com.

Contributed by Janene Mascarella

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