NEW YORK — The challenges of the global recession presented an opportunity for organizers of the SpinExpo yarn fair, which made its debut here last week.
More than 60 mills from 16 countries set up at the Metropolitan Pavilion for three days starting July 22 in what is believed to have been the first yarn fair here in more than five years. Mill executives and sales representatives said the economic downturn reduced attendance of U.S. buyers at European yarn fairs, making the return of a New York show more appealing. Exhibitors found it beneficial to meet with clients who have seen their travel budgets slashed and were on the hunt to connect with new, smaller companies to bolster business.
“[Buyers] are very pleased that this show is around the corner,” said Hamish Carruthers, founder of textile consultancy Carruthers Associates. “People are not traveling. Budgets have been cut, so if you can’t get them to come you have to go to them.”
Renato Cotto, chief executive officer of Cariaggi International, said, “It was the right time to do it because most of the American companies cut their budgets on travelling.”
Given the economic environment, Cotto said the company’s focus was on consolidating and maintaining its business.
“All the customers, even the biggest ones, are reducing their quantities,” he said, adding that orders from some customers were down by as much as 20 to 25 percent.
However, Cotto said he has seen small signs of buyers regaining confidence in the direction of the market.
“I can say it started at Pitti Filati,” said Cotto. “Europe, Japan and America started to be a bit more optimistic. A little bit. Nobody is coming here with a Champagne bottle saying ‘Hey, I was waiting for you,’ but it has improved.”
Cotto said Cariaggi intends to return for the second edition of the show and believes mills that didn’t participate will likely jump on board.
Gianluca Nardi, a sales executive with Lineapiu Group USA, who was representing the company’s Chinese subsidiary, Top Line Textile Co., said he had seen many high quality customers who were doing more than window shopping. Extending into the U.S. market, though, has difficulties.
“It comes down, unfortunately many times with U.S. customers, to the price and the fiber,” said Nardi.
Educating U.S. buyers and making them comfortable with new products poses a significant obstacle. Buyers seem reluctant to incorporate fibers being used in major markets such as Europe and Japan.
“This is a market where the concept of crispy yarn, a dry hand feel or a heavy mohair look is still very difficult to understand,” said Nardi. “[U.S. buyers] are mainly looking for super soft — no wool. When it comes down to Southern stores, they don’t want to even see wool on the label. That’s the biggest challenge. We need to find something that is soft, not wool, maybe even not cashmere, with a good price that you call sell all year round.”
Edwin Nazario, Australian Wool Innovation’s senior vice president for the Americas, believes the show will provide an opportunity to gain a deeper education and change attitudes.
“We’re aware that the industry has been neglected for a while and that there hasn’t been a lot of education,” said Nazario.
AWI was host at a pair of seminars during the show and introduced two knitwear collections, Merino Touch and Merino Casual. The Merino Touch yarns and knits aim to provide a luxury product at a more affordable price, are machine washable and can be blended with other high-end fibers. Merino Casual incorporates technologies capable of giving a garment a three-dimensional effect, a vintage look, pleats and even burn out effects. Features of both collections were showcased in an AWI runway show.
David Sasso, vice president of sales at Buhler Quality Yarns Corp., stressed education, as well.
“Our message when we get people here is to talk about quality and to educate,” said Sasso. “We like to talk…from fiber forward. If we can highlight those questions about where the fibers come from, the property of the fiber and how it’s spun, then maybe [buyers] will start asking the right questions. If you come in here, you’re going to get an education.”
Sasso said the goal for Buhler, which is headquartered in Switzerland and also has U.S. production in Georgia, was to examine new markets and stress to buyers that quality starts at the raw material stage.
Carruthers Associates was responsible for developing SpinExpo’s trend presentations and also introduced an online textile design program called scotcloth.com. Carruthers said he had a steady flow of visitors to his booth, and many were particularly interested in environmentally friendly products.
“The environmental question is strongly in everybody’s mind,” he said. “Whether you’re from China or the United Kingdom, people are very aware that we’ve got to clean things up. There was always a feeling that the textile industry wasn’t interested, but they know they’ve been one of the biggest problems.”
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)