Barefoot dreams blankets America – The New York Times

The first time Amanda John saw a Barefoot Dreams blanket, she was watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians. “Khloé was wearing her little leopard blanket and I said, ‘What is that? ‘When I Googled it, I had a bit of sticker shock,’ said Ms. John, 32, who lives in Atlanta and whose blog Strawberry Chic focuses on “sharing style for the everyday girl.”

Mrs. John received a gift card and waited for a sale to eventually buy her own. Now: “I have maybe two or three of the blankets. I have a robe. I think two cardigans, ”she said. “I’m just pregnant with my first one and I’ve even finished her first Barefoot Dreams blanket.”

Looking at the nondescript patch of oatmeal-colored fluff doesn’t mean understanding why celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Kate Hudson, and Chrissy Teigen wrap themselves in barefoot dreams. why the blankets are constantly sold out during Nordstrom’s big annual sale; Why bloggers, influencers, and YouTubers carefully weigh the price of $ 180 with their followers.

But after a brutal winter that concludes the first year of a pandemic, many have sought relief in the nubby stuff: a nation of Linussen with blankets spread around and held with fearful fingers.

“It’s the ultimate comfort lifestyle brand,” wrote Melia McGee, homeware merchandise director for Nordstrom, in an email from Barefoot Dreams. “We’re seeing a lot of repeat customers for the brand who may start by buying an entry-level item like a pair of slippers and adding multiple blankets to their collection for each room in their home.”

“I’ve obviously spent more money there – I feel comfortable and comfortable during a traumatic time,” said Kelsey Boyanzhu, 29, who blogs for Blondes & Bagels in San Francisco. “I make money off of affiliate links on my website and have absolutely seen a shift. I’ve seen traffic fall off a cliff on some of my favorite fashion items. “

But her post from December 2020: “Are barefoot dream blankets worth it?” Is now one of her most popular. “We don’t necessarily look for a handbag the same way we look for a blanket,” she said.

Indeed.

While Barefoot Dreams has only recently appeared to be everywhere, it was founded in 1995 by Annette Cook, a mother of young children who launched a range of baby clothes and products from her garage in Burbank, California.

She traveled to trade shows in Las Vegas and to boutiques across the country and in 2002 marked the term “CozyChic”. In 2003, Oprah Winfrey called the robe one of her “favorite things”.

Ms. Cook died of cancer in 2012, but her husband Stan continues to serve as CEO, her brother-in-law Steve serves as sales director, and her 25-year-old son Grayson has joined the company.

“She’s put her whole life into this,” said Steve Cook. “She didn’t see what it is today, but she had a pretty good idea of ​​what was happening and where it was going.”

Thanks in part to the company’s public relations firm, Rogers & Cowan, a parade of celebrities is now posting Barefoot Dreams blankets; Here is Kate Hudson’s teenage son Ryder sprawling on a white litter or Chrissy Teigen’s toddlers with creamy leopard print at their feet.

“I use my 365. It stretches across your shoulders and feet and nothing else compares,” Ms. Teigen tweeted about her blanket in 2019. She also touted a complete outfit, top and bottom, out of line in Instagram Stories.

“She even said, ‘Oh, if you do a scrunchie I’ll wear a scrunchie too,” said Frederic Barrouquere, the sales manager at Barefoot Dreams. “Well, we’re going to make some hair ties!”

QVC reported strong sales of Barefoot Dreams apparel in the pandemic, particularly wraps and cardigans, and Mr Cook said the company did exceptionally well with “anyone who wants to dress up and be comfortable” over the past year and vowed , “This year we that will be twice as high. “

Hollywood stylist Rachel Zoe said she was “an forever fan” of the company, particularly the ponchos. “Your robes make the best gifts, too,” she said.

The extraordinary softness of the polyester microfiber fabric seems to delight fans at first sight. “The hand feeling is definitely unique. It’s very spongy, ”said Ms. Boyanzhu. “I haven’t felt any fabric like this.”

“This is not your father’s polyester,” said Deborah Young, textile historian and professor at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, of the fabric Barefoot Dreams are made of. “Microfiber is incredibly fine like silk. We never managed to chemically imitate silk, but ultimately got closer by making one finer than silk. “

Of course, Barefoot Dreams isn’t the only manufacturer of synthetic lint. The competitors have similar dreamy names. Urban Outfitters offers a “Stargazer” knitted throw in nubby gray, while the “Stars Above” line from Target wears a velvety cream-colored chenille robe. Even Sam’s Club has found fuzz fans with its $ 30 Crafted by Catherine litter.

“I know I personally have tons of fuzzy socks and blankets in my house so we wanted to add something that we really shop for,” said Tori Gerbig, CEO of Pink Lily, a company that sells a leopard print blanket Sold worth $ 94. Pink Lily has been offering softer “stay-at-home basics” since last autumn.

Many of these products reflect Barefoot Dreams’ dusty palette or instantly recognizable animal print. “It really goes with the Malibu vibe, the coastal vibe,” Barrouquere said of the color scheme. The brand differentiates between colors such as “graphite”, “stone”, “pewter” and “beach rock”, all subtle variations of gray-taupe – or rinse water if they feel charitable.

With bloggers breathlessly cataloging the best dupes, the company has started putting a banner on its homepage warning customers of unauthorized sellers.

“Wash it! That’s where the others fall apart,” said Mr. Cook.

The popularity of these fluffy products – and precisely this machine washability – scares environmentalists, who have watched the horrors of certain synthetic fabrics in global water supplies in recent years.

“Polyester in general, and microfiber in particular, are really being scrutinized for their environmental impact right now,” said Patrice George, professor of textile development at FIT, who composes on Barefoot Dreams’ beachfront website and aesthetics. “All of these tiny tiny microfibers go into the water and pollute the ocean.” It’s the delicacy of synthetic fabrics that make it more likely to be spilled and crushed in the washing machine, she said, “but they feel great.”

The effect can be reduced by washing the blanket or the garment in a microfiber fishing gear such as the Cora Ball or the Guppyfriend bag. Later this year, Barefoot Dreams will release EcoChic, a new line of products made from 70 percent recycled fabric.

“Textiles have always had the dichotomy of protection and revelation,” said Ms. Young. “On the one hand, what you wear shows who you are, on the other hand we always crawl under the covers when we go home. There is something so certain about that. “

“Security” is a word that Mr Barrouquere also came back to. “Do you know when you’re a baby and have one everywhere?” he said. “That’s why people are really addicted to our product. You want the sweater, you want the socks, you want the slippers. We only take you all day. “

Ms. Boyanzhu understands that barefoot dreams may not be achieved or even desired by everyone. “The reality is, I don’t know that there will ever be a way for me to say that a $ 180 blanket is worth it,” she said. “So I want to acknowledge that. Do I regret buying a blanket? No.”

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