Since the majority of our work with clients is done via phone and email, clear verbal and written communication is key to our business. We need to clearly understand what our clients’ needs are and clearly explain to those clients what we recommend.

Sometimes it is fairly simple. The client knows exactly what he or she wants in a drape: fabric name, drapery style, fullness, etc. Other times, however, the client may just have an idea of a look but isn’t sure how to best describe the look. It’s our job to help the client describe their design and what they are trying to achieve in the design with the drapery.

One of the factors to consider is how opacity affects the customer’s design and drapery needs. Is the client looking for masking drapery and therefore needs the drape to be a solid black “non-see-through” fabric? If so, do they need complete light blockage (or “blackout”) drapery, or do they just want to ensure that any objects behind the drape can’t be seen?

When the customer asks for a “transparent” or “translucent” fabric, what is the customer trying to achieve in the design? Does the design call for something floaty and “see-through” or does it call for back-lighting, rear-projection, or a silhouette effect? Depending on the answers to these questions, either a “transparent” or a “translucent” fabric may be recommended (as the two terms are not synonymous).

Voile is an example of a transparent fabric, through which objects can be clearly seen (as above).

As we discuss the issue of drapery opacity, we sometimes find that a client is unclear about the difference between the terms “opaque,” “transparent,” and “translucent.” Of course, we do explain these terms directly to the client, but we have also found it helpful to our customers to send them a link to our white paper “Opaque, Transparent, or Translucent? Tips for Making the Best Fabric Choice for Stage Draperies.” Not only does the white paper explain the different terms in regards to how they relate to stage drapery fabrics, but it also lists common opaque, transparent, and translucent fabric choices.

Want to learn more about this fabric opacity? Click here to download a pdf copy of the white paper.