I’ve been noticing a trend recently. For years, we’ve been making stage skirting and masking stage curtains for music tours out of FR 16oz Commando Cloth (also known as heavy weight duvetyn). It blocks most of the light and it is quite affordable. The downside is that it is less durable (since it is cotton) and the topical flame retardancy treatment dissipates over time, which can be an issue if the soft goods become damp (such as at outdoor venues). It works fine for a single tour, but Commando soft goods often end up in the bin after the tour is over.
Lately, though, many production designers are choosing to use PFR Encore Velour instead. Not only does it provide terrific masking and light blockage, but as a polyester fabric, it is much more durable and is permanently flame retardant, allowing the possibility of using the skirts and stage curtains for more than one tour. It does cost a little bit more upfront but can be more economical over the long run.
So, any production designers or tour managers out there…let me know what you think. Is Duvetyn still the way to go, or are you moving toward polyester alternatives such as Encore?