CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The current status of worldwide hosiery, as well as hosiery sales and projections, fashion trends and the benefits of local versus global manufacturing, will be among the issues addressed at the International Hosiery Conference slated here for Saturday.

The conference will precede the three-day International Hosiery Exposition (IHE), to be held at the Charlotte Convention Center.

At the conference, Neil Hightower, vice president at Werner International, Thomaston, Ga., and Gian Mario Borney, that firm’s director of international marketing, will hold a "Worldwide Overview of the Hosiery Industry" presentation. David Spooner, special textile negotiator at the U.S. Trade Representative, will discuss effects of the recently passed trade promotion authority on U.S. trade policy and how the administration plans to use TPA. He will also update hosiery executives on textile negotiations in the new WTO Round and the status of textile agreement negotiations with Vietnam, as well as free trade negotiations with other countries.

In addition, Barry Mademann, a partner at The Context Group, Harmony, N.C., is scheduled to describe how several U.S. legwear companies have successfully established highly automated manufacturing plants and the effect such logistics have on the industry. Domestic and international sourcing will be outlined by Bill Sheely, executive vice president of operations at Gold Toe Brands Inc., Burlington, N.C.

Ken Wong, president of Ken Shing Hosiery Co. of China, will provide information on China’s hosiery business, and global retailing perspectives will be given by Marshal Cohen, co-president of the market research firm NPD Fashionworld, Port Washington, N.Y.There will also be a panel discussion on the current status of hosiery worldwide.

According to show organizers, some of the new developments to be shown at IHE will include:

High-performance yarns and fibers, with such benefits as heat retention, odor control and moisture absorption, which are designed for the active market.

Seamless apparel.

Cosmetically enhanced hosiery, with moisturizing, anti-cellulite hosiery and figure-enhancing features.

Ultra-Soft Socks, which feature yarns and finishes with a soft feel.

The three-day IHE is expected to include 100 major hosiery manufacturers and suppliers and 6,000 to 8,000 attendees.

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