Anthropologie Unplugged

Featured Image: Anthropologie Velvet Lyre Chesterfield

When I find myself lollygagging  around on Pinterest, specifically leering at furniture and upholstery, some of the pieces that routinely catch my eye are those unusual chairs, settees, and sofas being sold by Anthropologie. You know what I’m talking about–the settee with what looks like a watercolor painting on the back, a long sofa covered in a ‘Dhurrie’ rug. Those upholstered pieces are the furniture poster children for the Anthropologie vibe. You do notice, however, that they’re sprinkled in amongst more versatile and  neutralized deep buttoned Chesterfields and other good looking, yet non stand out pieces?  The result? Everyone knows the velvet Chesterfield is the practical parent, while the gypsy furniture is the cool aunt. Where do we begin to analyze the Anthropologie furniture brand?

It’s impossible to pin down for certain where Anthropologie buys or has their furniture made. One thing for sure is that they’re aesthetic sells like hot cakes. Their style, or rather lifestyle brand has been very successful across their entire brand. Most people don’t know that much about furniture quality anyway, so when marketing to their target demographic, and the Anthropologie dazzle has been added, it’s unlikely whether any of their customers or customers’ parents are going to go on a mission to investigate the furniture quality. This pretty well sums things up. It was a comment left on a HOUZZ.com commentary  about Anthropologie furniture.

I like Anthro’ s furniture. It’s not heirloom quality :-), but it’s interesting and fun. I think it’s overpriced, but it’s certainly more accessible than designer stuff.

So there it is. You’re buying the look, feel and lifestyle of the Anthropologie customer. For some of us it’s worth it, for others (like you and me), all we think is ‘I can source those textile and create a truly high quality version of that stuff!’

The question is, will we ever really do it?

So, who does makes their furniture? That little nugget is not readily revealed on the internet, but I did find one other little comment left by slychica088 on Yahoo.com. But remember that anybody can add their two cents worth, so who really knows if slychica088 knows anything at all. But, he/she sounds convincing:

It depends on if it is an antique or one of their pieces. The antiques are bought at estate sales in Europe and are in the high thousands range. Anything less then that and they are their own brand. Anthropologie designs and manufactures their own furniture.

More than likely, Anthropologie has their pieces custom tweaked and designed by a furniture manufacturer right here in the US. Wouldn’t that be pleasing?!

I dug deeper and and discovered that Anthropologie placed an order for a Battersea settee in 2009 with North Carolina furniture manufacturer Vanguard Furniture. The settee was ordered to be used in the White House by Sasha and Malia Obama. Even though we can’t confirm that Vanguard is Anthropologie’s exclusive upholstered furniture manufacturer, if you check out their pieces, they look very ANTHROPOLOGIE-esque. However, one of my other sources reported that Anthropologie has some of their furniture made overseas, which isn’t a surprise.

It would be only be quick specification changes to convert this sofa, from the self named Vanguard line, to a rolled arm, no cord on the cushions, and extending the sofa’s overall length, as well as a leg change. I’m not saying there aren’t not many other companies around the world who could be making the Anthropologie pieces, Vanguard just has a very similar lineup already in production, sans the signature Anthropologie bohemian vibe which can also be a simple spec change.

A Vanguard Tufted Back Settee:

Tufted Back Loveseat

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Anthropologie Pink Tufted Back Settee:

Pink Tufted Back Settee

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Again, a little bit different, but very similar.

A Vanguard Sofa:AnthropologieUnpluggedPierceVanguard

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An Anthropologie sofa:

The Anthropologie furniture could be made by Vanguard Furniture.Anthropologie rolled arm, three cushion, wrapped back sofa.

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Even though these two sofas may look different, the component parts aren’t that difficult to change out in manufacturing. Who knows? We may never know. But once you break it down and peek behind their clever marketing, the mystique of Anthropologie isn’t all that mysterious. But we still love them and their ability to knock out fun and interesting pieces.

Looking ahead: I’m getting the strong feeling that the fall will bring lots of velvet in all different colors. As expected, Anthro’s got that handled already with their Slub Velvet Edlyn Ottoman that comes in nine different velvet colors.  And since this is Upholstery Club, we just have to note the wrinkled sewn pillow top. Once they get that cleaned up, we’ll stand behind this $848.00 beauty.

AnthropologiePurpleVelvetOttoman copy

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