23
Sep

Q. How did you start out?

JA. After college I was going to go to law school but like every American kid I found a summer job and, coincidentally, it happened to be in this fabric store. Three brothers owned Diamond then and when one of them died the other two decided to retire and having no one to take over the family business, they approached me. The idea of having my own business appealed to me and besides, by the end of that summer I was hooked anyway, so I decided to make a go of it and bought it in 1982. The store was small then and sold specialty foam as well. I kept the original name, Diamond Foam and Fabric and it’s brought me luck so far. I learned to be a good salesman and focused on learning everything I could about fabric. I prefer the woven textiles; I stock a large assortment and this is what first attracted my illustrious clientele.

22
Sep

Q. How many rolls do you stock in the store?

JA. Far too many to count. Thousands. At least 10 thousand. But what’s great is that it’s my own personal collection. I buy fabrics the way other people collect stamps and I love every single roll individually. Of course, I aim to be the best in the trade and to offer the widest possible range because we have so many different clients to satisfy, my customers vary from Hollywood stars to the architects du jour to set designers to loving hands at home novices. They all need a steady stream of fabric options and they all share a common desire with me; to touch the material, feel its essence if you will.

22
Sep

Q. Do you go to the movies?

JA. Very little but I like the golden oldies. The sets were magnificent, the fabrics rich and sensual... my friends tease me because they say I could be shown a porno movie and the only thing I’d notice would be the sofa fabric. And it’s true. Fabrics really are a passion above and beyond being my livelihood. I collect them, sell them, and like to know where they come from, who made them and why.

22
Sep

Q. What are your favorite fabrics?

JA. The natural ones, linen for instance. But I also love fabrics that have a distinctive weave. I carry a huge array of soft rich chenille’s. This is a fantastic job, there are always new products, new finishes coming out and it’s always exciting. You’re learning and discovering something new every day.

22
Sep

Q. How do you decide which fabrics to stock in the store?

JA. I believe the reason the store is so successful and why my customers keep coming back is because we listen to people. We listen really hard. We understand our clients’ needs and treasure their feedback. We’re lucky to have many customers who are popular interior designers and they can be very influential, their likes and dislikes are published in magazines and soon we have people coming in asking for the same fabrics for their own homes. In a way, they are like scouts who pave the way for us as retailers, helping us make the right product and timing decisions. We also have an especially close relationship with our fabric manufacturers; at the end of a season they are keen to know what sold and why, that way they can put fabric collections together catering more effectively to the tastes of the public. I am of the opinion that you have to give people what they want, and fast. Manufacturers have to be snappy. They must have the versatility and flexibility to produce what people want. When they want it.

22
Sep

Q. What do you see as future interior design trends?

JA. There are some very forward-looking manufacturers around, very interesting. But having said that, I believe people still prefer natural fibers like cotton, linen, silk, and wool. They want things that feel warm and friendly. I’m sure ultra hi tech steel will have its fans, but wood and natural materials will always win out in the end. There will always be room for groundbreaking innovation but there will always be a bigger demand for traditional textiles. Of course, they are always going to be being revamped and adapted to suit modern tastes.

22
Sep

Q. What are your favorite colors?

JA. I don’t much like blue for some obscure reason. There is rational explanation and of course this comes out unconsciously in the decisions I make about the store. I love green, all shades, and neutral tones. Every warm shade of beige and brown.

22
Sep

Q. What’s your idea of happiness?

JA. Maybe happiness is sitting at home in your favorite chair, the day done, knowing your children are safely sleeping and that all is well with the world. But for me it’s also coming across some perfect fabric, with the right combination of softness and texture, and well-blended colors...it’s the job of a collector chancing upon a rare find.