By  on May 22, 2007

MIAMI BEACH — Innovation and corporate social responsibility were recurring themes during the ninth edition of Material World at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Material World, which ended its three-day run May 10, presents resources for all aspects of the sewn product industry, from design to delivery. This year, and every third year, Material World and Technology Solutions were joined by Sewn Products Equipment & Suppliers of the Americas, which added 80 exhibitors to Material World's 475. The show, sponsored by Atlanta-based Urban Expositions, is composed of and targets mostly Western Hemisphere companies, but sourcing pavilions included exhibitors from India, Pakistan and China.

Exhibitors stressed the need to position themselves as innovative partners capable of providing brands with the latest in technology and most efficient execution. This year they also were intent on showing their commitment to the environment and social responsibility.

Technology Solutions featured dramatic new applications, such as Paxar's magicmirror, which displays content, size, color, mix-and-match guidelines and accessories suggestions when a garment equipped with a radio frequency identification, or RFID, tag is held in front of it. The mirror also can provide advertising or communicate with salespeople, who are alerted via a computerized handheld device when the fitting room customer needs another size or color. Magicmirror also tracks garments to prevent shoplifting.

Magicmirror was among 14 participants in The Cool Zone, a futuristic technology showcase sponsored by TC2, a Cary, N.C.-based research consortium. Other exhibits included virtual and 3-D design tools, customized fit scanners and digital printing machines that eliminate treatments and dyes that pollute water.

The color green infused all areas of the show, from organic, recycled and new bamboo fibers to technological advances such as digital printing that reduces pollutants. The show's trend pavilion, with the theme "Sustainability," combined the latest fashion and performance trends under banners stressing environmental awareness. Fabric exhibitor Eclat, based in City of Industry, Calif., launched a green division last year, showing fabrics of bamboo, organic cotton, sea kelp, soy bean and recycled polyester for the first time at Material World.

"Our customers want it; Champion ordered 800,000 pieces of an organic cotton top and pants for Sam's Club," said April Booth, Eclat's national sales manager. "Wal-Mart's going green and committed to 250 million pieces of organic garments through 2010."

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