LOS ANGELES — Designers and apparel manufacturers combing the booths at the Los Angeles International Textile Show last week were on the hunt for novelty fabrics to help their product stand out as spending tightens.
"It works at retail when you can surprise your customer with something fresh and fun," said Beth McTavish, a principal in Vancouver-based manufacturer Halfmoon, who liked novel prints of abstract florals and monkeys on linens from Japan's Seven Islands.
McTavish was among the designers and manufacturers who traveled from as far as Texas, North Carolina, Illinois, New York and Washington to attend the trade expo here from April 14 to 16 at the California Market Center. A total of 225 exhibitors from countries including Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Switzerland and South Korea showed their spring 2009 collections.
Although metallics maintained their popularity, Marilyn Dinsmore, a manufacturer who owns Comet Clothing in Studio City, Calif., said she saw a lot of rich colors like electric blue in next spring's palette.
Agnes Yang, apparel product manager for Los Angeles-based footwear firm Keep Co., which introduced its contemporary clothing line for this fall, said she searched for sporty fabrics like cotton fleece and eye-catching patterns such as stripes and polkadots.
International exhibitors included 22 members of the Korea Textile Trade Association. Soo Hoon Chae, director of the government-sponsored organization, said he has been closely following the proposed free trade agreement between South Korea and the U.S., which requires approval by Congress. If the agreement were to pass, Korean textile companies would realize a reduction in their tariff rate that now ranges from 18 to 36 percent, he said.
"Korean manufacturers want to increase exports to the U.S., especially on the textile side," he said.
Some of the Korean high-tech offerings included Paka Textile Co. Ltd.'s two-tone chambray, fabrics with memory shape and cotton blends displaying a shiny leather finish. To maintain its sales with the dollar being weak, Paka Textile kept prices for spring 2009 fabrics consistent with a year ago, said brand manager Jay Jung.
"That's the only way to keep the business volume," he said.Switzerland's Schoeller Textil AG also emphasized technology in its Shape Group that included stretch blends of synthetic and natural fibers ideal for form-fitting clothes, and Spirit Group, which integrated metallics for bold and expressive optical effects. Making its first visit to the trade expo, Schoeller received a positive reception from designers of lifestyle apparel brands to Spirit Group's aluminum-coated polyester that resembled a metal screen as well as a ribbed nylon-metal blend that was transparent and reflective.
Despite the price, novel fabrics such as a Japanese tie-dye called shibori proved to be big sellers for Chesler & Associates. The most popular style was a burgundy silk dotted with irregularly edged circles at $40 a yard. Also getting attention was organic cotton shirting at about $7 a yard. Underscoring the growing sophistication of organic materials, the shirting fabric featured details such as raised pinstripes from French mill Siat & Lang.
Italy's Mectex took the weak dollar into consideration by tailoring its collection for the local market. Its double-face fabric that featured a different color on each side was a viable option for emerging designers on a budget because they essentially received two fabrics in one, said export area manager Simona Febbi. A version called Domaso Double is a polyester that's pink on one side and gray on the other at $11.50 a yard. Febbi said Mectex also brought less expensive alternatives. A customer who liked a cotton, silk and elastic blend that cost $12.80 a yard could opt for a similar-looking cotton and elastic blend for $8.60 a yard, sans the silk.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion