By  on July 5, 2005

NEW YORK — European and Turkish textile manufacturers exhibiting at shows here next week are out to prove their relevance amid challenges from a quota-free China.

The Turkish Fashion Fabric Exhibition will kick off what should be a busy week for buyers seeking a first look at fall and winter trends for 2006. More than 50 Turkish textile and fabric manufacturers are expected to fill the Empire Ballroom at the Grand Hyatt July 12-13 for the show's eighth season. Turkish companies such as Altinyildiz, a mill and garment producer that specializes in wool and spandex blends and tailored garments, and Bossa, which produces polyester and rayon blends, denim and woven fabric, will be among the more prominent presenters.

"The aim is, of course, to show the latest products from Turkish companies to American buyers," said Ahmet Oksuz, a leading board member on the Istanbul Textile & Apparel Exporter's Association (or ITKIB) committee, an organization of 28,000 manufacturers that organizes the event.

Oksuz is optimistic about the show and the future of the Turkish textile industry, and with good reason. The removal of quotas on China has so far had anything but a negative effect on Turkish exports, which grew 12.8 percent in the first quarter of 2005, according to a statement from ITKIB. Exports to South and East Asian countries ballooned 33.7 percent, while exports to North African nations increased 30.9 percent.

"The popularity of Turkish fabric is growing, and the number of exhibitors is increasing," said Oksuz. The show has become so popular that the committee is more selective about exhibitors. Offering fashion-forward product is still a key for the success of the show, but marketing the idea of Turkish fabric is also catching on, Oksuz said. More is being spent by Turkish companies and by the Turkish textile association on marketing future shows.

European Preview will return to the Metropolitan Pavilion for its fifth season July 13-14. European weavers from 133 companies are expected to give buyers a hint of what they'll see at the Premiere Vision show in Paris scheduled for Sept. 20- 23. Almost half the companies are from Italy, said Daniel Faure, president of Premiere Vision, who puts together European Preview."European Preview is our first show of the season," Faure said. "It's a chance to see what is really going to be the trends, or to find out if we have to change a little before the show in September."

To get the most from the event, European Preview's producers have organized the show as a workshop, a format they feel makes it distinct and improves the quality of the experience for the more than 3,000 visitors who are expected to attend. Rather than randomly comb through the booths, the organizers urge visitors to attend a trends conference first to get a feel for some of the broader themes and the season. The next stop is a fabrics forum, where swatches taken from all the exhibitors are displayed by theme.

Faure said European mills will have to distinguish themselves from Chinese manufacturers by driving innovation and quality. "The companies performing, those who are producing fancy fabrics and improving their product — those companies will still have a good business." Faure said.

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