Twice each year Mark’s substantial collection of antique quilts inspires the Howard Marcus fabric lines. A portion of the proceeds from these Collections for a Cause benefit different charitable groups and foundations: the pinks and browns of his newest collection, Faith, will support The Coalition to Support America’s Heroes. The Organization provides aide to severely wounded and disabled veterans who served during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, helping them and their families rebuild their lives. In the past, Collections for a Cause have benefited organizations helping to fight juvenile diabetes, ovarian cancer, Alzheimer’s, and more.
If your idea of a company president is a serious soul, dressed in a dark suit and fixated on the balance sheet, then Moda’s owner and president will surprise you. Mark Dunn certainly is serious about his business, one he’s grown over the last 36 years. But Mark cares about more than just the business side of things at Moda: he loves quilts and the history embedded in them. (And those dark suits? Let’s just say that when the occasion’s right, he’s not afraid to let his sartorial splendor shine.)
Mark’s love of fabric developed when he worked with his father in the notions industry. Together they sold zippers, thread, and fabric in Atlanta. When his dad retired Mark moved to Texas, where he opened United Notions and Moda.
Although he’s in the fabric business, neither Mark nor his wife is a quilter. “I do sew the buttons on at home,” he says. “And I used to be able to put in a zipper!”
While he leaves the actual stitching to others, he thoroughly appreciates their efforts. “I enjoy quilts from the art standpoint, the creativity that comes through the designs and the way they’re put together,” he says. “It’s a fun industry—we make beautiful products and I’m happy to be a part of it and to preserve some of our history and times in fabric.”
Mark remembers a group of World War II quilts he recently examined. “They told the story of what was going on at the time—the textiles, the patterns, even the problems that existed were reflected in them,” he says. “People’s feelings, both abroad and at home, came through in those quilts.”