By  on February 23, 2010

LAS VEGAS — The demand for value-driven fashion spurred designers to search for factories and textile mills that could produce high-quality products at reasonable prices at Sourcing at Magic.

At the three-day show, which ended Thursday at the Las Vegas Convention Center, exhibiting manufacturers from countries as far away as Belgium, China, South Korea and Pakistan were buoyed by a worldwide economic rebound, although they continued to deal with the fallout from the Great Recession. In addition to reducing prices, factories tried to attract customers with lower minimums and quick, reliable deliveries.

“It’s been getting better in the past 10 months,” said Yumna Khan, sales representative for Pakistan’s Nova Leathers, which can produce a minimum of 100 units of leather jackets for $55 to $100 each.

Participating at Sourcing for the second time, Nova Leathers displayed its waxed leather bombers embellished with fur and gold studs and other trendy pieces with the hope of expanding its Europe-centric client base that includes Max Mara and Hugo Boss to attract more American clients.

“The customers want fashion,” Khan said.

Belgium’s Vegotex International was another vendor that banked on the American consumer’s heightened interest in fashion to help it break into the market. A first-time exhibitor at Sourcing with annual sales of $80 million, Vegotex employs six designers and produces clothes for Zara and European department stores in factories based in China, Bangladesh, India and Vietnam.

“The U.S. has become trendier,” said David Kerner, Vegotex’s chief executive officer of U.S. operations. “We feel that the U.S. market is more adapted to the European fashion than five to 10 years ago. We’re trying to bring another style — not change the fashion here, but to bring something new.”

The manufacturers that brought style to Sourcing appeared to have the most bustling booths. El Monte, Calif.-based Yu Yu International, which runs a factory in China, attracted a crowd for its cocoon-like knits woven out of cashmere, wool, nylon and rayon at a cost of $20 to $30 each.

Wisemen Fashion Co., which has specialized in producing jersey clothing in China for 22 years, highlighted a gray romper that integrated harem pants with a metallic top. South Korea’s My Look stood out with its shimmering midnight blue nylon parka and other pieces that were designed and sourced in South Korea and manufactured in China.

To be sure, fashion wasn’t the only criterion for American customers.

“They’re more sensitive to price than other markets like Europe,” said My Look ceo Mooyong Yang. “Of course, in Europe, price is also important, but they also consider the quality.”

In the case of Emily Wall, sourcing manager for contemporary clothing brand Two Star Dog in Berkeley, Calif., she kept in mind price, quality and fast, reliable delivery as she sought contract factories that could make denim and fashion knits.

“It all goes hand in hand,” she said.

Quality ranked as a top concern along with price and innovation for Patti Kinzer, who produces private label accessories at GMPC LLC in Petaluma, Calif.

“You can buy something cheap and it’s poorly made and falls apart,” Kinzer said. “Then you lose customer value. If you just look at price, it’s not going to get you anywhere.”

In the textile section at Sourcing, exhibitors stressed innovation.

Catame, a Los Angeles-based zipper maker, showcased interwoven locks with laser-cut sides and molded zippers for a high-tech look.

Fabric Avenue, a Los Angeles-based textile purveyor, received a positive response for denim velveteen costing $5.50 a yard.

“It’s different, it’s something new,” said Baha Halavi, sales representative at Fabric Avenue.

With such an emphasis on novelty, the textile industry could only improve moving forward, Halavi said.

“It is picking up since last month,” he said. “Customers are placing more orders. People are buying stock [fabrics].”

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