By  on March 30, 2010

LOS ANGELES — Designers and manufactures at the Los Angeles International Textile Show looked to supplement their continued interest in metallics and textured fabrics with a move toward weathered fabrics and neutral color palettes.

The show, held March 15 to 17 at the California Market Center, featured more than 185 exhibitors. That figure compares with about 225 exhibitors that participated in last April’s show.

The fair drew buyers from as far away as Austria, Canada, Korea, Mexico and Venezuela. Local designers and executives, including Frankie B’s Daniella Clarke, American Apparel’s Dov Charney, Corey Lynn Calter and David Meister also checked out the show.

The demand for metallics was strong. South Korea’s Yeonwoong Trade embroidered white flowers and silver metallic branches on polyester mesh, putting the cost at $130 a yard. France’s Solstiss brought a new batch of jacquards, including a reversible style consisting of a taffeta warp blended with silk and Lurex. and New York-based Papillon Ribbon & Bow Co. adorned ribbons with studs.

South Korea’s Premy Tex Ltd. integrated the trend for hard metal into plush fur. The company offered polyester fake fur treated with a metallic snakeskin print and bonded polyester fake rabbit fur that appeared dusted with gold specks.

Jill Giordano and Brian Scheyer, the San Francisco-based designers who are launching Noir by Gr.Dano this fall, leaned toward fibers blended with metal, sun-bleached colors and supple cloths like silk and Modal for their architectural line.

“We don’t do prints,” Scheyer said. “We do texture in place of it.”

Traveling to Los Angeles for the trade fair helped the designers find textile vendors from the U.S. and Canada.

“You can cut smaller orders later,” Giordano said, citing the advantage of working with North American vendors. “It’s a little bit easier.”

Linda Marrone is another California designer who said she struggles with high minimums set by foreign mills. For her updated misses’ label Loco Lindo, Marrone said she is unable to handle orders requiring more than 500 yards of material.

“We have a hard time with prices and minimums right now,” she said.

Aside from those challenges, Marrone preferred soft knits that appeared distressed, wrinkled and worn in muted shades of purple, gray and charcoal.

Several mills benefited from the demand for fabrics that already appeared worn down. South Korea’s Ilshin Heungsan received requests for burnout treatments in stripes and animal prints. France’s Fabien Doligez offered washed polka dot-embossed cotton.

Indigo was prevalent in shirting material. Acton Fabrics sold indigo fabric from Turkey’s Sunteks Textile Industrial Co., and Japan’s Maruwa displayed giant checks woven with indigo yarn and solid indigo fabric in different variations of blue.

In an effort to better compete against low-priced rivals, some textile companies transformed themselves into garment manufacturers.

Classical Silk, a Los Angeles-based company that specializes in silks printed with large flowers, copper snakeskin and other novel designs, opened a new division called Manufashion last year. Manufashion produces silk dresses in the same factory where its fabric is made in China. With a minimum order of 500 pieces and the ability to complete and deliver an order in four to six weeks, Manufashion charges $22 to $30 for a silk dress and $12 to $15 for a polyester version.

“People that are smaller don’t have the access to do production,” said Nanaz Pirouz, who handles sales and merchandising for Classical Silk.

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