By  on April 5, 1994

NEW YORK -- A beefed-up exhibitor roster, an large expected turnout of buyers and the North American Free Trade Agreement should make for an active third edition of the Los Angeles International Textile Show.

The three-day show, which opens Monday at the California Mart, will have about 75 more exhibitors than last May's inaugural event.

They bring the exhibitor list to approximately 325 fabric, textile machinery, trimmings and computer-aided-design companies.

The show is co-sponsored by the Mart and the Textile Association of Los Angeles.

The show's second edition, last October, had 320 companies, but 40 of them were leather suppliers exhibiting as "Leather Under the Sun." The leather showcase is a fall-only event.

Next week's show will highlight apparel fabrics for spring 1995 and occupy the Mart's entire 144,000-square-foot 13th floor pavilion and 35,000-square-foot sixth-floor exhibit hall.

At the first two shows, only some 75,000 square feet on the 13th floor were used for textile show space. However, about 30 apparel firms that had been there have moved to other locations inside the Mart.

In addition, several exhibits will appear on the Mart's market mezzanine.

"With NAFTA now a reality, the show is growing in stature, given Los Angeles's proximity to Mexico," said Bob Berg, TALA's executive director. "We expect more buyers from Mexico to attend this show."

Berg said that as of March 28, buyer registration had topped 2,500, with total buyer attendance projected at about 6,500, up from the nearly 5,200 who attended last October's show.

While the event promises to attract U.S. buyers primarily from west of the Mississippi River, it will also draw about 700 from Europe, Mexico and the Far East, Berg said.

Some exhibitors said NAFTA will play a key role.

Fred Baumgarten, president and chief executive officer of Majestic Mills, a corduroy producer, said he expects to see more Mexican buyers this time because of NAFTA. Majestic has shown at the previous two Los Angeles events.

"Corduroy apparel is gaining ground, and Mexico could become a key resource for it," said Baumgarten, whose firm in January purchased the corduroy operations of Cone Mills.Steven Kuntzman, director of marketing for PAD Systems, Los Angeles, a supplier of CAD-CAM systems, said, "Mexico is a key reason we are here. A lot of textile and apparel firms will be needing both the hardware and the software to compete. Although we aren't going to write a lot of business at the show, we are going to make important contacts."

In addition, Mexican buyers who showed up last October said they'll be back.

In a telephone interview from his Mexican offices, Benito Perez, a director of marketing for Elan Ayala, an apparel manufacturer based in Parras, said, "When I first went to the show last October, I didn't expect much, but I was very surprised. This year, I am bringing two additional people with me, as there are more textile exhibitors, and I have found the show to be worthwhile."

Perez added that he's looking for prints and novelty knits for women's wear.

"Last October, we sampled knits from Guilford and prints from Lida and Tandler, and we'll probably go back to them, along with a few other companies," he said.

Enrique Javier, sales director at Jovisto, a Mexico City blouse and dress maker for an upscale clientele, said he'll be back.

"Andrex is a key knit house I want to hit," said Javier, "as Mexico is becoming a center for novelty knits for apparel. It has been said that only basic things come from there, but that is not true."

Among other buyers planning return trips, Lawrence Sebren, principal of Hemp Traders, Los Angeles, a supplier of activewear and other soft goods made from natural fabrics, said he's aiming "to find some more EcoSpun fabrics."

EcoSpun is Wellman Inc.'s polyester that is made in part from recycled plastic soda bottles.

"We're also looking for more Tencel fabrics," he said.

Ellen Trellis, owner of Trellis Specialties, a Vancouver, British Columbia, specialty shop, said that while she doesn't buy fabrics she'll be returning to Los Angeles to see some fabric suppliers and then discuss what she's seen with apparel vendors for spring 1995."Knits are one thing I'm definitely going to be looking at," Trellis said.

Mill and converter representation includes returnees Cone Mills, Fab Industries, Guilford Mills and Springs Industries, along with a first-time exhibitor, Thomaston Mills.

Fiber representation will come from DuPont, Hoechst Celanese and Wellman, all returning for a third show.

In addition, the Textile Distributors Association -- chiefly composed of New York mills and converters -- is once again sending about 40 converters.

TDA firms slated to show include Pressman-Gutman, Lida Inc., Tandler Textiles, JBJ Fabrics and Metro Fabrics.

International exhibitors will again include JL de Ball, a Canadian supplier of corduroy and velvet; Guatamalan Travelers; Guatamala, a supplier of novelty fabrics, and Trademart of Singapore, a textile industry consortium that will be showing several hundred fabrics available in that market. Although Trademart showed at last October's show, it has doubled its space for next week's event.

Exhibitors said making contacts and general promoting of their products, rather than hefty order-writing, are the important parts of their show agenda.

James Gutman, president of Pressman-Gutman, a New York-based converter, said although not a great deal of business will be written during the show, "it's a time to renew acquaintances, and let people see your line again."

"Since many of the apparel firms shopping the Mart will be looking for fabrics for activewear and swimwear, we feel we need to have Lycra spandex representation," Jerald A. Blumberg, senior vice president in charge of fibers at DuPont, said through a spokesman. Bill Trienekins, president of JL de Ball, a Canadian fabrics supplier, noted that NAFTA has already increased his business slightly.

"And now." he added, "we'll strengthen our contacts with several firms we may do business with." De Ball produces fabrics -- primarily corduroys and velvets -- at a plant outside Montreal.

"We got some good response at the recent International Fashion Fabric Exhibition in New York," said Alan Hubbard, sales manager of MicroDynamics, here, another CAD supplier, showing for the first time in Los Angeles. "Some added business in L.A. will be terrific. The technology's not cheap, but it is essential."In addition to the products and services on display, the show will feature two seminars.

On Tuesday, April 12, Pat Tunsky, principal of fashion forecaster Pat Tunsky Inc., will present her "Spring 1995 Color and Design Trends."

Tunsky will hold her discussion at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., in the Mart's Fashion Theater.

On Wednesday, April 13, Ellen Sideri, president of ESP Inc., another trend forecaster, will present a "Paris Spring 1995 Trend and Silhouette Directive."

Sideri's talk will be at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Fashion Theater.

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