By  on April 17, 2007

MIAMI BEACH — Material World Miami Beach is gearing up for the second round of its "Three Great Events" May 8 to 10.

The comprehensive trio of exhibits, which made its debut in 2004 and is staged every three years as part of the Material World Miami Beach show, includes Technology Solutions and Sewn Products Equipment & Suppliers of the Americas.

Tim von Gal, president of Material World, said, "All indications of a significant increase are there, from hotel bookings to pre-registration."

Von Gal expects more than half of the exhibitors to be international.

As of last week, only a few of the 400 or so booths remained unsold in the Material World segment of the show, according to von Gal. In the total show's 160,000 square feet, in three halls at the Miami Beach Convention Center, will be featured another 200 booths for Technology Solutions and SPESA. He said the event's all-in-one presentation was key to its success.

"I'm unaware of any other apparel production show that combines all these elements under one roof," said von Gal, adding the layout reflects the industry's evolution into a global landscape. "This year is a lot different than 2004 because the world is quota-free now, and companies can be more aggressive and nimble."

Duro Textile, an importing, finishing, converting and dyeing firm in Fall River, Mass., stands to benefit from the consolidation of sourcing resources and technologies available at the show, according to vice president Gail Strickland. She said the company's global sourcing strategies had grown exponentially and a typical order from fabric to end product might involve Thailand, Honduras and the U.S.

"We can hit manufacturers from all over the Americas here," Strickland said. "Plus, any company looks to spend less time and money by sending decision makers to a one-stop-shop."

Since this will be Duro's first Material World since opening a Shanghai office, Strickland said there would be wider representation of well-priced, high-tech fabrics from Asia, such as stretch outerwear, polyester spandex and breathable, waterproof laminates. The company also plans to introduce full digital printing capabilities, and antimicrobial yarns and coatings for food service and medical uniforms."Asia's shows have plenty of fabrics, but Material World highlights themes for home to fashion," she said. "It produces one of the best trend displays."

Kevin Knaus, creative director of Material World, said the show's trend pavilion, a standard in Europe, was the only one of its size and depth in the U.S. Miami's measures 4,000 square feet; the New York edition of the show has 5,800 square feet.

"The organizers really believe in this amenity," said Knaus, who travels the world with a three-person team, gathering inspiration.

The trend area will include a 12-minute looped video with fabric and runway shots. Partnership with Pantone ensures attendees from Pakistan to China have access to the same dye system for color trends.

Corporate social responsibility will be another key theme at the show.

"Sustainability," this year's theme, addresses how best to meet needs without compromising future generations.

Pantone also is focusing on social responsibility and the evolution of isolationist to citizen of the world, according to Tod Schulman, vice president of fashion and home.

"Celebrities like Bono are rich, but they're wearing their wealth on their sleeves in a more responsible manner," he said.

Schulman believes Material World's recent launch of a New York edition has helped grow the show into a vital platform for those without extensive travel budgets.

"Anything we can do to bring global industry closer to the domestic design community is important because not everyone wants to travel abroad and there aren't many U.S. fabric shows these days," he said.

Von Gal said trend seminars and displays were big draws. Joining Pantone, Promosteel and Cotton Incorporated will be another forecasting partnership, to be announced next month.

The entire education program and registration process are seamless compared with 2004's separate symposiums and entrances for each show, according to SPESA executive vice president Benton Gardner.

"One badge gets you into all three shows and seminars are based on topics such as executive sourcing or brand management," she said.

SPESA also features a 4,000-square-foot "Cool Zone" for interactive demonstrations of machinery and technology. Mike Fralix, president and chief executive officer of TC², a technology research, development and consulting company in Cary, N.C., that has collaborated with SPESA for years, is spearheading the project. He reported the main message of this year's exhibitors was creating apparel and accessories digitally and converting locally."It's much like the newspaper industry, which sends a digital copy of the edition, but prints it close to the distribution source," said Fralix.

He also predicted a big reaction to "magicmirrors" from Paxar Corp. in White Plains, N.Y., computer screens for retail dressing rooms that translate garments' radio frequency identification chips into display materials, matching items and video clips of advertisements and editorials.

"We're also working with SK C&C, a [South] Korean company that's developed a way to try on clothes digitally over the Internet through body scanners, and Shima Seiki, a Japan-based maker of knitting machines that spit out whole garments," said Fralix.

Rick Ludolph, president of Productive Solutions, a consulting firm for business strategy and technology guidance for consumer goods in Marietta, Ga., expects to garner more than 20 percent of annual business at the show.

"We'll focus more on North and Central America. It's our primary show," said Ludolph, who will moderate a panel about product life-cycle management on the first day. "The educational track is equally important as exhibits."

This year, more than 33 companies from India will join international pavilions such as those from Colombia, Peru and Guatemala. Major presenters are the Apparel Export Promotion Council, a Ministry of Textiles and Government of India-sponsored monitoring organization of garment exports, quotas and promotion, and the Synthetic & Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council, which facilitates relationships between overseas buyers and Indian exporters. An industry official from India will take part in a roundtable discussion.

"Sometimes businesses from the same country don't all show together, but it makes sense to create synergy and provide easy access for attendees," said von Gal, who organized 10 pavilions averaging 12 to 30 booths as another way to expedite business. "Material World helps designers from concept to delivery of goods. By combining all three shows in packaged sections, we can now give that same service to manufacturers."

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