L.A. Textile Shows Battle for Visitors

The Los Angeles International Textile Show is being challenged by newcomer GlobalTex and slashed budgets.

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles International Textile Show will face challenges on two fronts when it hosts its next edition at the California Market Center April 14 to 16.

This story first appeared in the March 31, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

In addition to contending with a pool of buyers who have seen their budgets slashed during the economic downturn, the show is being aggressively challenged by newcomer GlobalTex, which will host its first event next month at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The showdown will determine whether Los Angeles, home to the nation’s largest concentration of apparel workers, can serve two textile expos scheduled within 14 days of each other in the midst of a recession that has forced designers, brands and retailers to cut costs, reduce inventory and delay orders for fabric and other materials.

One of the ways the CMC, which has produced the Los Angeles International Textile Show since 1993, is looking to deal with the weak economic environment and the rise of a new competitor is by emphasizing its lineup of domestic mills.

“We want to bring together a large group of domestic mills,” said Chelsea Matthews, CMC’s senior trade show manager. “We love working with these European countries and Asian groups. Especially now, we’re seeing a large demand for domestic. People want to support our economy.”

This season’s show will include some 215 companies, compared with 230 to 240 in previous years. About 30 to 40 percent of the exhibitors will be from the U.S., and European mills will account for 40 percent. Asian mills, including 30 South Korean companies organized by the Korea Textile Trade Association, will represent as much as 20 to 25 percent of the overall exhibitors. The Korean booths will occupy the fashion theater on the first floor, and the others will be in the penthouse on the 13th floor.

GlobalTex, produced by Dallas-based Market Center Management Co., will kick off its inaugural three-day show on April 28. Some 200 exhibitors are expected, including more than a half-dozen companies in a French Pavilion, almost 40 Italian brands and mills from Austria, the U.K., Germany, Switzerland and Vietnam. Organizers said more than 1,200 people from over 30 countries have registered.

Bill Winsor, president and chief executive officer of Market Center Management, said GlobalTex’s contract to organize two shows a year over the next decade at the Los Angeles Convention Center allows it to take advantage of the location next to the freeway and the entertainment epicenter dubbed L.A. Live, grow the show and turn it into a purposeful event with seminars and booths, all to be held on the same floor.

“The ability to make it a one-show environment is important,” he said.