BUYERS LAMENT LACK OF SELECTION FOR SPRING AT L.A. TEXTILE SHOW
Byline: Kim-Van Dang
LOS ANGELES--Timing is not everything. That was the early consensus at the Los Angeles International Textile Show here. The three-day California Mart show that began its sixth edition Monday has been the subject of much debate regarding its dates. At the request of members of the New York-based Textile Distributors Association--who felt that the established April/October slate fell between selling seasons--the show was last held in January. After conducting a poll of 6,000 buyers, however, mart management and event co-sponsor, the Textile Association of Los Angeles, have decided to stick with the original schedule. What concerned apparel manufacturers shopping the show more than dates was selection, or lack thereof. Many were in search of goods for spring and summer 1996 and were disappointed to find mostly fall and holiday 1995 samples on display. Because this edition so closely followed the last, many textile firms chose not to participate. About 275 lines are featured, compared with as many as 350 lines in the past. Christian de Castelnau, president of CDEC, a casual sportswear house here, came to the show in search of textured cotton for spring 1996. Shopping for neutrals and muted pastels, he kept his prices under $5 a yard. "Price is an issue for everyone these days," he said. "It has to retail." Although de Castelnau had no problem with show dates, he noted that many exhibitors were still selling holiday fabrics. Dora Martinez, designer for Bodywaves, a Garden Grove, Calif., company producing junior sportswear under the My Boyfriend label, liked the show's setup, but was hard-pressed to find fashion-forward goods. "We are known for our basic knits, but I'm working to make the line more trendsetting," she said. Martinez looked for fall fill-in fabrics, including fake fur and vinyl, but said she only found "safe things" on exhibit. For spring 1996, she noted she conducted a fruitless search for retro postcard prints at up to $4 a yard. Brett Moore and Charlene Warner, merchandiser and designer, respectively, for Antigua Sportswear, a golf and sports apparel firm in Scottsdale, Ariz., shopped for ideas. "We're working on our fall 1996 line already, which is too far ahead for most of the exhibitors here," Moore said. "This is more of a chance for us to get an overview of the market." The two spent the first day looking for color direction and did get some useful information from Carlin International and Color Box. Kalouse Guedelekian and Gayane Ketendjian, president and designer, respectively, of Gayane, a contemporary sportswear company here, looked for holiday 1995 goods at under $10 a yard. Even though they placed some orders, they were not impressed by the selection on hand. "We found what we needed," Guedelekian said. "But it was a choice between two exhibitors instead of five or six." The two left paper for double-faced satin crepe by Westwood Inc. The show held in three areas of the mart--the exhibitor hall, the A-wing of the second floor, and the Penthouse Pavilion area of the 13th floor--started slowly Monday morning. By noon, however, lines were forming at the registration booths. Ruth McKeown, mart director of markets and trade shows, said she expected Tuesday traffic to pick up, as the show is traditionally busiest on its second day. In addition to lobby fabric displays, the show featured a Pat Tunsky trend seminar Monday afternoon. Tuesday events include "Increasing Profits Through Inventory Management," a seminar by Moss Adams Certified Public Accountants at 8 a.m.; "Moda Made In Italy," a presentation sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission and hosted by Elsa Klensch at 4 p.m., and a cocktail reception at 6 p.m.
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