The word continental quilt is a very British word and is seldom used these days. Quilts for use on beds are generally referred to as duvets these days.
During the 1970’s the British public started changing the way they slept. Blankets were traded for the new style continental quilt.
Many people slept under sheets and blankets with what was called an eiderdown on top. Originally these comforters would have been filled with the down of an eider duck, but more often than not, they were filled with polyester due to the cost of the down. An eider down duvet costs upwards of £5,000 these days.
The transition from sheets and blankets to duvets was a linen buyers dream. Duvets were manufactured with various fillings. Synthetic filling included polyester fibre and hollowfibre. Natural duvets were filled with goose down, goose feather and down, duck down and duck feather and down.
Vokins Department Store was quick to recognise the changing fashion and soon had a hugely successful quilt business. Our turnover grew so quickly, that the then leading supplier and producer of duvets, Slumberdown put a sales consultant in store. Vera Aldersley was to become the Queen of Quilts and worked with us until the store closed in 1997. What Vera didn't know about them wasn't worth knowing.
Sales for the new continental quilts really took off in the early 1980’s and Vokins promoted them very heavily, with promotions giving savings and Free Pillows. Pictured is a mail shot sent to our customer in November 1983.
1985 was Slumberdowns, Britain’s premier producer of Continental Quilts most successful year with sales growing 40%. The introduction of more filling varieties along with a larger selection of TOG values meant there was more choice for the retailer and consumer.
In the Slumberdown Scene magazine of Spring 1986 (pictured below) the headline read “Boom year on three fronts.” You will notice that the duvets in the picture are all channelled. This was later replaced with the cassette construction which keeps the filling in place and averts cold spots.
vokins@home and Big Brand Beds are still major retailers of duvets. Although Slumberdown is no more, we have a great range of natural duvets from Die Zudecke, Surrey Down and Nimbus.
Why not check out our best selling Die Zudecke Canadian White Snow Goose Down duvet today.