Byline: Michael McNamara

NEW YORK--The International Fashion Fabric Exhibition, which has grown in prominence with every edition, could be getting an additional boost from the Textile Distributors Association.
The three-day showcase of fabrics, trimmings and services begins its sixth twice-yearly stand Oct. 18 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center here. It is sponsored by The Larkin Group.
For the first time, the TDA, a group that chiefly comprises 165 New York-based mills and converters, has put together a committee to look into endorsing the twice-yearly event as a venue for a group showing.
As reported, the TDA as an association in the past has not linked up with IFFE. It does support the Los Angeles International Textile Show, though; about 40 TDA firms show under the organization's banner. Most TDA firms that exhibit in Los Angeles have showrooms there.
Roberts said that, based on an expanding exhibitor roster and a growing attendee list, the TDA is "rethinking its position on throwing its support behind a New York-based textile show, as several of our member firms are already participating on an individual basis."
To date, nine TDA-member companies have exhibited at the IFFE--Tandler Textile, Texfi, Springs Industries, the international division of Westwood Fabrics, Cranston Print Works, Greenwood Mills, Lawrence Fabrics, de Marco California Fabrics and Horizon Textiles.
The TDA firms set to exhibit for the first time at next week's stand are Lida Inc., Milliken & Co., Pressman-Gutman, and Majestic Mills. To investigate the possibility of an endorsement, the TDA has set up a committee, headed by Howard Olian, chairman of Westwood Fabrics.
Olian said among the factors he will take into consideration before making his recommendation to the TDA board are the quality and quantity of buyers and exhibitors--and their reaction to the show--and the physical layout of the exhibits.
Other TDA members on Olian's committee are David Caplan, chief executive officer of Metro Fabrics; Isaac Kier, chairman of Lida and chairman of the TDA, and Joel Cohn, president of Reltex Fabrics. Olian said the group will conduct a walk-through, "probably on Wednesday, Oct. 19."
Fred Baumgarten, president of Majestic, said his firm has decided to exhibit at the IFFE because "we think the size of this show attracts a lot of quality people."
"I think if the TDA decides it will endorse the show, 15 to 20 big-name exhibitors from our association will begin showing there," Baumgarten said.
"The key thing we are looking for in this show is prestige," Olian said.
Some heavy hitters of SA said the show already has high stature.Cheryl Rosenfeld, corporate vice president of textile research and development for Liz Claiborne Inc., said, "We have been involved with this show since its start and plan to send design and fabric representatives from each of our divisions."
"This has become a good, solid fabric show for New York, and we are going to be fully endorsing it," said Bud Konheim, president of Nicole Miller Ltd., who noted that several designers--as well as Nicole Miller herself--are planning to attend. Konheim has worked closely with Larkin in generating interest for the show.
Other SA firms confirming attendance include Donna Karan, Norma Kamali, Danskin and Mast Industries.
The U.S. Government is getting behind the IFFE as well. As reported, the U.S. Department of Commerce has incorporated Fashion Week in New York City--of which the IFFE is a part--into its foreign buyer program.
In addition to IFFE, Fashion Week includes two other Larkin-sponsored shows, the International Fashion Boutique Show and the International Kids Fashion Show. It also features two shows promoted by The Larkin Group and The Schimel Co.; the National Association of Men's Sportswear Buyers show and the Private Label Expo.
Every U.S. embassy throughout the world is promoting the sixth edition of the IFFE with signs and literature, a Commerce spokesman said, and embassy-led delegations will attend the event.
"In our conversations with various people involved in the textile and apparel businesses around the world, we are directing them to the IFFE," said the spokesman. "The show has proven early that it has become global in scope. It's not just a regional show."
Jonathan Larkin, president of The Larkin Group, said next week's show will have 380 exhibitors and should draw over 8,000 apparel manufacturers from 20 countries. He said he expects about 900 international buyers to attend. The last IFFE, held in March, showcased 320 exhibitors and drew slightly more than 7,200 buyers, including 700 from overseas.
Of those foreign buyers, approximately 450 will be coming in embassy-led delegations from Belgium, Greece, Germany, Kazakstan, Russia, Chile, Hungary, Kuwait, Switzerland, Taiwan and Poland, said Larkin.
To aid foreign apparel makers that may want to establish a presence here either with an agent or through their own offices, the IFFE has created what it is calling an international business center. Representatives from the Garment Industry Development Corp., the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Economic Development Corp. of New York, will meet with foreign manufacturers to discuss the U.S. apparel industry, primarily focusing on New York.
In addition, Helmsley-Spear will conduct walking tours of SA showrooms.
"We just don't want to bring them to the Javits Center," Larkin said. "We want to offer them business opportunities and to see what the fashion industry in New York is like."
Other new attractions at next week's show include a separate trimmings marketplace and a computer-aided design and manufacturing center. In the past, both categories were shown with the fabrics. The IFFE is also offering its usual lineup of seminars (see separate listing).

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