NEW YORK — A fashion season really starts with the textile shows.
The lineup for the remainder of 2007 — events that present fabrics, designs and colors available for spring-summer and fall 2008, even as far ahead as 2009 — hints at an increase in earth-friendly fibers and natural dyes at one end of the spectrum and more high-technology, high-performance fabrics at the other.
Pale colors are another emerging trend for the upcoming fall-winter season.
"This coming color card for autumn-winter 2008 has more light and clear colors than dark," revealed Jacques Brunel, general manager for Première Vision Preview, to be held July 18 to 19 at the Metropolitan Pavilion. "For the first time," he predicted, "ladies will be clear-color dressed, and that is interesting."
But Brunel knows that anything can happen. "Première Vision is a place to look at the mood and to breathe inspiration. It doesn't mean that it is a guru and that these will be the trends. We must keep very modest in this business."
PVP will represent the works of 130 to 150 weavers from Europe and other international markets, at least 15 of them new to the show. Some 3,000 retail buyers and designers are expected to attend, 70 percent from the East Coast. The show has been organized into four sections representing fabrics for formal wear, casual, specialty and sports and high technology.
However, a looming business concern is the strength of the euro because it weakens the buying power of the U.S. dollar. Brunel believes the quality and creativity of the exhibitors will spur purchases, regardless of the higher costs to American buyers.
Political unrest in Turkey has thus far not affected plans for the upcoming Turkish Fashion Fabric Exhibition, which is set to go on July 17 to 18 at the Puck Building in SoHo. It is a new, trendy venue for the event, previously held at the Grand Hyatt in Midtown.
Turkish show officials could not be reached, but a U.S. spokesman for TFFE said 50 leading Turkish mills would show textiles geared for the spring-summer 2008 and fall-winter 2008 and 2009 seasons. U.S. buyers from the Gap, Ann Taylor, Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Donna Karan are already scheduled to attend.Once again, the TFFE will present a trend area to be produced by Studion Commandeur, a French research company. "Buyers can touch, see and read about the future trends for the upcoming seasons," said the spokesman.
Also presenting a global view is the upcoming Los Angeles International Textile Show, slated for Oct. 15 to 17 at the California Market Center. The event, which showcases fabrics and trim from domestic and European suppliers, is a key resource for contemporary designers.
Thanks to the return of a South Korean pavilion, the show will be larger this year, with more than 300 exhibitors representing the works of France, Italy, India, Japan, Great Britain, Austria, Canada, Turkey, the U.S. and South Korea.
Show manager Adrienne Sulaver said organics were shaping up to be a big topic at the October show. "We are looking to help further the trend of organic and eco-friendly fibers by increasing the exposure of these exhibitors."
To help attendees navigate the show, located on the CMC's Penthouse floor, exhibitors will now be merchandised by category.
Messe Frankfurt will hold its Texworld USA fabric exhibition at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York from July 17 to 19. The show is expecting 30 percent more exhibitors than were at the January event. To date, some 195 suppliers from 16 countries are slated to exhibit, and representatives from designers and retailers such as Ann Taylor, Calvin Klein, Edun, Sean John and Target are expected to attend.
Texworld was previously held at the Penn Plaza Pavilion, but it outgrew that space, noted show manager Stephanie Everett.
"For our July  and January show this year, we were sold out at 150 exhibitors with about 2,000 buyers. Now, with the increased space, we are able to add another 30 exhibitors," she said.
At Javits, the floor will continue to be segmented by category, such as cotton, denim and functional fabrics. Although the primary focus is on products from Asian mills, there will also be representatives from Turkey, France, Germany and a smattering of U.S. companies.
For the first time, Texworld will stage a trend display area where buyers can view fall-winter 2008-2009 colors represented by selected exhibitor swatches. There is also an education segment with six seminars, sponsored by Lenzing Fibers. There will be two on color and trends; two on Lenzing Fibers, such as Modal and Tencel; an overview of the current retail landscape, and a panel discussion on eco fibers and the green movement."The eco panel is expected to be a highlight," said Everett. Karla Magruder, director of Fabrikology, is moderating the panel. She will be joined by Coral Rose, president of Eco-Innovations; Dieter Eichinger, global marketing director for Lenzing Fibers; Mark Messura, executive vice president of Cotton Inc., and Robert Flug, president of SL Danielle, a division of Chaus Inc.
Material World, a trade show produced by Urban Exposition of Atlanta, has a new partnership with Stylesight, the trend forecasting service. Stylesight's input will first be seen at the Material World New York show taking place Sept. 25 to 27 at the Javits Center, where it will help develop the fair's Trend Pavilion and Garment Trend area, a long-standing show feature. Stylesight will also present a seminar on fall-winter 2008-2009 trends.
Material World, with ties to the American Apparel & Footwear Association, displays fabrics and trims for the sewn products industry. Some 475 exhibitors are expected for the September event.
For the first time, Material World is putting special focus on four key growth areas: eco-friendly, performance, product life cycle management and design and merchandising solutions. A company offering one of these fabrics or solutions will be marked with an icon, such as a tree for eco-friendly and a circle for life cycle management. There will also be coinciding educational programs on the topics.
"With new practice strategies emerging and evolving technology applications, standard operations of even just a few years ago are changing and evolving," said Kevin M. Burke, president and ceo of AAFA, explaining the reason behind the new initiatives.
Direction, based in New Jersey, a show that delivers not the fabrics but the special art designs, dyes and treatments to enhance styles, is also readying for its next event from Aug. 7 to 9 at the Penn Plaza Pavilion. Some 150 exhibitors are expected, and 2,800 to 3,000 visitors.
Highlights include information on digital fabric printing, along with a panel of youngsters ages nine to 14, discussing "things they can't live without," said Lisa Mainardi, the show's producer. The intent of the panel is to provide insight into what is important to younger generations and how that will translate into future design and, ultimately, the marketplace.Direction will also deal with environmental issues. "We have had a lot of requests for natural dyes," said Mainardi, so one element will be a promotion of a natural dye produced by the Dutch firm Rubia Pigmenta Naturalia. But the show executives won't just talk about the reddish pigment that can be modified to achieve a range of shades. "We are dying our staff T-shirts in this."
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