By  on April 12, 1994

NEW YORK -- Plans are in the works to expand the joint fabric presentations of Texitalia and Jardins d'Elegance come fall.

Texitalia, which features Italian mills, and Jardins, which showcases the French, will be joined by other product categories from Italy and possibly fabrics from Britain at their October stand, according to officials of both shows.

Meanwhile, it will be strictly fabrics from Italy and France in the spotlight when the two shows unveil offerings for spring-summer 1995 next week at the Waldorf-Astoria.

The three-day show opens next Tuesday. A total of 44 Italian mills, including 16 from a consortium of shirting manufacturers, will be on hand, while seven French firms have signed on. All exhibits will be on the hotel's 12th floor.

The Italian Trade Commission, an organizer of Texitalia, said it has sent more than 6,000 invitations to U.S. apparel manufacturers for the shows, and expects at least 1,200 to show up. The two shows pulled about 1,200 buyers from 760 manufacturers last October, the first time they were held simultaneously.

For the October Texitalia, ITC officials said that in addition to the fabric mills, the show will highlight Italian leather, shoe and accessories manufacturers under the banner Moda Made in Italy. Out to further strengthen interest in things Italian, the ITC plans to sponsor a fall exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum here dubbed "Italian Metamorphosis," a sampling of Italian art and fashion from 1943-1968. It will run for a month surrounding the Texitalia show.

The ITC -- along with the other Texitalia organizers, the Italian Federation of the Apparel and Textile Industry, known as SITEX, and the Association of Cotton and Linen Manufacturers -- is also in the midst of setting up seminars in several cities in Italy beginning in June, designed to educate Italian mills on the nuances of doing business with U.S. firms.

Gaspare Asaro, deputy trade commissioner at the ITC, said that despite the rise in prices of some fabrics, U.S. buyers should find value, based on the devaluation of the lira.

"The U.S. market is very important to us," said Asaro, who was interviewed at the ITC's offices here. "Our exports in the past 11 months have increased 20 percent in terms of lire. The devaluation has brought some advantage. U.S. buyers can take advantage of that. The more we can expand our show to cover some additional areas, the stronger our export situation can become."Asaro also said that while he has spoken with The Larkin Group, which sponsors the twice-yearly International Fashion Fabric Exhibition at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, "our exhibitors have said to us that we like it at the Waldorf. So, the plans are to keep it here. If we have to expand, we can take up more of the 12th floor."

To beef up Jardins d'Elegance, the French Trade Office, which sponsors the show with Centre Textile de Lyon Region, said it is negotiating with British mills to show with the French.

"While it is premature to say the British are going to be with us, things at this point look pretty good," said Florence Rousell, a representative with the FTO. "We would also like to get some other countries, but we'll see how it goes with the British first."

Rousell further noted that when Jardins d'Elegance first became a part of Texitalia, the French mills were slated to exhibit only in the fall.

"Based on the response many of the firms got last time, it was only natural that some show again," Rousell said. "We do have fewer mills showing than in October because most of those only feature winter fabrics."

Twelve mills were showcased at the last Jardins d'Elegance.

"Compared to what we are offered as far as trade shows in this country are concerned, Texitalia is terrific," said Bonnie Luria, sales director for Giorgetti Gestioni Industriali, the Italian mill owned by Gruppo Miroglio Tessile.

"It's a little more personalized and a lot classier," she said. "A lot of Americans don't go to the European shows, so this is the only time they can see these products."

"Many of our customers use this show as a second look," said Bert Forma, principal of Forma Associates, a U.S. agent for Forestyle, showing at Jardins d'Elegance for the first time. "After seeing all the resources at Premiere Vision, they come to this show with a clearer focus of what they want. That's why it's so important for us to be there."

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