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.Lisa Mainardi, producer of the Direction textile show, said she has seen an uptick in home decor. More than 150 exhibitors are expected for this year's Direction show, which will run Aug. 2-4 at the Penn Plaza Pavilion in New York.

"We have 72 exhibitors that say they do home goods," said Mainardi. "I think they're trying to reach more people and expand their buyer base. They're all catering to new markets and, as a result, we've seen a little more of it over the years."

There's little danger of home decor encroaching too much, said Mainardi. Companies offering children's wear have thrived at the show, with 70 of the 150 exhibitors in the upcoming show offering children's wear.

Antiques and vintage designs are carrying momentum into the winter season as well. "We have 36 companies who have vintage or antiques in their collections," said Mainardi.

Over the past year, Direction has formed alliances with competing shows such as Indigo in Paris and the new Prelude International Textile Design show Aug. 8-9 at the California Market Center in Los Angeles.

The result has been increasing global interest, especially from China.

"Their businesses must be doing so well that now they are wanting to be more directional," said Mainardi. "Now, rather than just producing a good, they want to be creative as well."

Marketing has been a key element to the success of the Turkish Fashion Fabric Exhibition, which will take place in New York at the Grand Hyatt July 12-13. Show organizers are expecting more than 50 Turkish textile mills to participate, and anticipate attendance of between 2,000 and 2,500 people.

"The marketing is becoming more important every day," said Ahmet Oksuz, a leading board member on the Istanbul Textile & Apparel Exporters' Association committee, which organizes the show. "That makes our shows and our exhibitors more important, more distinct."

Material World will make its debut at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York Sept. 28-30. Organizers seized the opportunity to host a show after IFFE decided not to host its event during that time.Tim Von Gal, executive vice president and a partner at Urban Expositions, which owns, manages and produces Material World along with 19 other trade shows, said putting on a show in New York has been a desire for some time.

"We've had a pretty good model for success down in Miami Beach. We're looking forward to taking that forum and bringing it up to New York," said Von Gal. "If the home of the industry is New York City, and we've been able to be successful outside New York, we're optimistic about the new show."

Von Gal expects 400 companies to exhibit, filling almost 450 booths. Attendance is expected to come in somewhere around 5,000 people.

Other shows taking place during the second half of the year include Fabric at MAGIC, which will take place Aug. 29-Sept. 1 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and the Los Angeles International Textile Show, scheduled to take place Oct. 17-19 at the California Market Center.

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