By  on October 6, 2009

LOS ANGELES — Designers and manufacturers sought vibrant colors and textured fabrics at the Los Angeles International Textile Show last week, but they continued to pay careful attention to prices.

Exhibitors presented collections for fall-winter 2010-2011 at the California Market Center for three days through Friday and were joined for the first time by Material World & Technology Solutions. The addition of Material World brought in a mix of yarn purveyors, foreign factories and companies that make software used to design textiles and clothes.

The total number of exhibitors for the combined shows topped 350. Show organizers declined to reveal the number of attendees. However, vendors had mixed reactions to business at the event, as they faced a protracted economic slowdown and the second edition of rival textile show GlobalTex next week in Los Angeles.

“There are too many shows,” said Victor Almeida, textile engineer at Buhler Quality Yarns Corp. “You should have one big show.”

Buhler, based in Jefferson, Ga., had previously only exhibited in Los Angeles at Kingpins, a smaller show that caters to the premium denim industry. Having exhibited before at Material World in Miami, Buhler decided to introduce three new products at the Los Angeles edition: a slub yarn made either of pure Supima cotton or a Supima-Micromodal blend; a soft-spun Supima available in a waffle weave, ribbed texture or pointelle, and a Supima weave with wicking capability. The texture on the fabric was important, Almeida said, because “touch is everything.”

Texture was the focus for several buyers, including Los Angeles-based eveningwear designer Kevan Hall and Gail Rabideau, designer of the You & Me Naturally women’s casual sportswear line from Hawaii. While Hall searched for jacquards, cloqués and other novel materials that have been manipulated through cuts, appliqués and tears to yield an eye-catching texture, Rabideau opted for a nubby feel.

“If you have a little treatment, it just blows out of the store,” she said.

Gale Cox, designer of a T-shirt line called Status based in El Segundo, Calif., cottoned to loose knits resembling cobwebs, coils of zipper teeth and stretch polyester enhanced with silver drops that she could use to add texture to plain T-shirts.

“I’m looking for something that’s going to be creative,” she said.

While Cox and other designers equated texture with novelty, Dori Schneider, designer of The Dori Collection in Beverly Hills, was on a quest for snaps and other hardware that would make her tops more versatile with detachable collars and sleeves.

“My customers are looking for tops they haven’t seen anywhere else,” she said.

Purple proved to be a dominant color choice, along with other rich colors such as red and magenta. South Korea’s Fashion Flying found a market for its abstract aquamarine print layered on nylon-and-cotton lace, while Saechang, also from South Korea, did well with a black and cream water print on Spandex-polyester stretch velvet. Solstiss Bucol appealed to designers’ penchant for novelty with burnout lace printed in a snakeskin pattern.

Josi Severson, a textile designer from Winona, Minn., received a positive response for her hand-drawn baroque patterns imbued with bright tints of fuchsia, orange and purple.

The baroque theme was also evident in Silk Fashion’s bibs embellished with beads, paillettes and metal chains that can be attached to tops to create unusual necklines.

As a point of contrast, clean stripes were a popular alternative to ornate patterns. Inter Colour, a Lynbrook, N.Y.-based company that sells fabric under its namesake brand and also under the label Zen-Tex, appealed to designers with its yarn-dyed stripes.

Though vendors said designers appeared more optimistic about business, they continued to be price conscious. Juan Boluda, a Spanish company represented by JM International Group, did well with its stripes and polkadots because it requires no minimum amount for orders and charges less than $25 a yard.

A number of foreign companies came to Los Angeles for the first time in search of new customers. South Korea had a large representation thanks to two sections that were sponsored by the Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency, or KOTRA, and the Korea Textile Trade Association.

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