BREATHING ROOM FOR FEUERSTEIN: Malden Mills Industries Inc. chairman Aaron Feuerstein got some wiggle room on Thursday. The bankruptcy court extended to Aug. 21 the deadline for him to assemble $92 million to regain control of the Lawrence, Mass.-based company from creditors, according to business manager David Costello. The previous deadline had been July 31.

“It just gives us some additional time, which I think all of the creditors think is in their interest…because they’d like to have him buy back the company,” Costello said. “He’s got more than half of [the $92 million] committed at this point.”

He added that because of strong demand for its fabrics, Malden is in the process of hiring 25 new manufacturing workers. The company payroll currently numbers 1,200. About 900 people work in the company’s mills.

EXPORT ADVICE: The U.S. Commercial Service is organizing a pair of panel discussions for May 20 intended to address ways that U.S. apparel and textile companies can do more business overseas.

At 9:30 a.m. at the offices of the Garment Industry Development Corp., at 275 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan, the service will host a talk on how to market and sell U.S.-made apparel in Spain. Carmen Adrada, commercial specialist at the U.S. Embassy in Barcelona, is to be the primary speaker

At 2 p.m. at the Southgate Towers Hotel at 371 Seventh Avenue, the service, along with the American Apparel & Footwear Association, has set a seminar on trade progress that has resulted from the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act, the Africa Growth & Opportunity Act, and the Andean Trade Promotion & Drug Eradication Act, and how U.S. manufacturers can benefit from these pieces of legislation.

U.S. Customs Service import specialist Richard J. Wilson will discuss the work of jump teams in the affected regions. Henry Frasen, executive director of the Honduran Apparel Manufacturers Association, is also to present a case study on how his nation’s industry has adapted to the legislation.

There is no registration charge for the morning event. The afternoon event costs $95 for AAFA members and $125 for nonmembers.

NCCJ HONOREES NAMED: The National Conference for Community & Justice plans to honor Russell Simmons, chairman and chief executive officer of Rush Communications, and Keith Nagy, director of filament at Celanese Acetate, at its annual Retail, Fashion & Textile luncheon on May 20.

Russell is slated to receive the NCCJ’s Humanitarian Award, while Nagy is up for the Retail, Fashion & Textile Leadership Award.

Funds raised by the event, which is to be held at noon at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan, are to support projects, including the group’s Emerging Leaders Institute and its Faith Initiative.

MAKING THE GRADE: The High School of Fashion Industries held its annual “Stretch to the Future” scholarship design competition Wednesday. The entries were judged by various members of the textile, fashion and media industries.

The competition included garments in the following categories: women’s sportswear, men’s wear, swimwear, eveningwear, lingerie and a fantasy category featuring conceptual garments.

Approximately $4,000 was donated by Radici Spandex Corp. and will be divided among the winners. They include Tiffany Dominguez, who won the fantasy, women’s sportswear and children’s wear categories, as well as the grand prize. Juan Vargas won the eveningwear category; Xiao Jing Dong won for swimwear and men’s wear designs and Canea Jones was the lingerie winner.

Designer John Varvatos, Flaunt magazine founder Long Nguyen and several others judged more than 50 garments from HSFI’s senior class.

CALLING NEW DESIGNERS: Woolite recently announced the second annual Fashion Future Grants program and is inviting new designers to apply for sponsorship of their fall 2003 and spring 2004 fashion shows. The program was created to showcase promising designers. Candidates will be selected by an advisory committee chaired by Margaret Hayes, president of Fashion Group International and the Woolite Fashion Forum. One designer will be chosen for fall, while another will be picked for spring. Each designer will receive a cash award of $10,000 to be used toward a show or presentation during New York Fashion Week, as well as inclusion in a print and broadcast consumer education campaign. Last year’s winners were Paul Chan and Tawfik Mounayer. Applicants must have worked in fashion for at least one year and not more than five years. They also must be working at least partially with machine- or hand-washable fabrics.Final selections of the grant recipients will be made in June for fall, and in November for spring 2004.

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