By  on January 11, 2011

Rising raw material costs and dedicated price consciousness will color the textiles shows taking place in New York over the next two weeks.

Cotton prices soared to record highs in the last year and prices for wool and other materials have climbed as well, a situation that is starting to creep further along the textile supply chain and causing buyers to eye their bottom line even more closely than they have the last few years during the recession.

As Première Vision Preview starts a two-day run today at the Metropolitan Pavilion & Altman Building, there is still a degree of uncertainty in the industry, said Jacques Brunel, general manager of the show. While buyers always took price into consideration, they used to look first for quality and creativity, Brunel said. In the wake of the economic downturn and buffeted by global market forces, buyers want a competitive price above all, he said, and in some cases are looking to trade down for less expensive fabrics.

“The U.S. market is getting more price-minded,” Brunel said.

Buyers are shifting their sourcing from some traditional European fabric houses for high-end products like silk to Asia or from silk to synthetic materials that evoke the same feel, such as viscose, he said.

“The U.S. market is very difficult,” Brunel said. “Our exhibitors have been suffering very much for a year and a half in the American market.”

Première Vision Preview has 200 exhibitors this year, Brunel said, and attendance registration levels are on par with the previous year when attendance was particularly strong. The show recently strengthened its relationship with GL events, an international event solutions company, which increased its ownership stake in the show to 49 percent from 24.5 percent.

Cotton prices — which rose 52 percent in 2010 to $1.42 a pound — are the biggest challenge for the denim industry, said Andrew Olah, chief executive officer of Olah Inc., a U.S. agent for foreign contract manufacturers and textile and hardware vendors targeting denim designers that also produces the Kingpins Show, a boutique denim fair.

Kingpins, held Jan. 18 and 19 at Skyline Studios on West 36th Street, will feature an expert panel talking about the challenges posed by rising raw material costs to “help retailers and brands get a better grasp on what has been going on and what will continue to happen,” Olah said. “The cotton crisis is the singularly largest issue all of us in the denim industry face.”

Textile shows are looking to offer attendees and exhibitors as much market intelligence as they can in the competitive environment. Texworld USA, produced by Messe Frankfurt, will stage its 10th edition Jan. 18 to 20 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

The show will launch a partnership with Stylesight, a provider of trend content, tools and technology. The new partnership will manifest at the show in a collaborative trend display on the show floor and a series of trend-focused seminars for attendees. The trend information was added in response to requests from attendees and exhibitors for more direction and education, said Alex d’Archangelo, marketing manager for Texworld USA.

Texworld will also move its trim and embellishments exhibitors front and center on the show floor.

Following the Obama administration’s conclusion of negotiations on a U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement, there has been a renewed interest in the region, said d’Archangelo. Exhibitors from South Korea will make up the largest contingent from a single country, she said. There will also be more vendors from India, in response to feedback from show attendees.

Texworld USA’s registration was the highest it’s ever been for a January edition, said Stephanie Everett, show director.

The substitution of synthetic fibers for pricier natural ones is benefitting some firms. Lenzing, a sponsor of the Texworld USA show, has expanded its operations to meet increased demand. Lenzing will increase its annual fiber production by 25 percent with the expansion, the company said. Peter Untersperger, ceo of Lenzing, attributed the need for added capacity in large part to high cotton prices and volatility in supply.

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