By  on June 22, 2005

NEW YORK — Domestic textile shows are gearing up for a strong second half of the year despite mounting macroeconomic pressures.

Organizers from the textile and apparel industry said the number of exhibitors picking up booths for summer and fall trade shows has remained steady, with most expecting the numbers to rise. As a result, organizers are optimistic that attendance will be up as visitors respond to cutting-edge designs and high-quality product offerings.

"It's still difficult and it's going to be difficult for a long time," said Daniel Faure, president of Premiere Vision, who puts together European Preview.

European Preview is scheduled to take place July 13-14 at New York's Metropolitan Pavilion, and will give buyers a sneak peek at the winter 2006 offerings that will be displayed at the larger Premiere Vision show in Paris.

Faure expects approximately 133 European weavers to have exhibits, and between 3,000 and 3,500 people to comb the booths during the two-day show. According to Faure, nearly 70 percent of exhibitors are returning to the show, while 30 percent are new.

"The market is quite difficult because of the Chinese production and things like that," said Faure, who also pointed to the strength of the euro as another factor pressuring vendors.

Macroeconomic forces such as these are pushing companies to find ways to improve. The best way to do that, said Faure, is for European companies to push forward with design, quality and service.

"If quality does not improve all the time, we have no chance," said Faure. "More and more the companies are pushing on new finishings, new specific qualities to help the fabric and to help the customers. That's a good point for the European fabric."

Faure also believes European companies, in order to survive, will need to find ways to fulfill smaller orders that seem to come in later and later each season.

More than one textile trade show has seen a growing number of exhibitors coming from the home decor market. The results, so far, have been positive for show organizers. However, whether the presence of more home decor at apparel and textile trade shows is a good thing in the long term is less clear.

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