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Registration Steady at N.Y. Textile Fairs

Organizers are counting on innovation to spur interest.

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NEW YORK — Organizers of international textile shows here next week said registration levels are holding steady, but are preparing to face buyers whose budgets have been slashed as economic conditions worsened.

This story first appeared in the January 6, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Buyers will have one fewer show to fit into their schedules. Texworld USA typically runs concurrent with Première Vision Preview and Prefab: The Supima Premium Fabric Show. However, because of scheduling issues with the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, this year’s show will take place more than two weeks later, from Feb. 3 to 5.

The New York presentations of spring-summer 2010 fabrics, including print design shows Direction by Indigo and Printsource, are also taking place a week earlier than usual. That, coupled with fall fashion collections that are showing a week later than normal in February, means vendors could see a rise in immediates sales. Designers will have a bit more time to ponder their purchases and could feasibly work them into the upcoming fall collections.

With fewer shows to attend, buyers will have added time to focus on the more innovative and directional collections presented at Première Vision Preview that will take place Jan. 14 and 15 at the Metropolitan Pavilion. Laurence Teinturier, the North American representative of Première Vision Preview, said more than 2,500 buyers have preregistered for the show, which is about the same number as last year.

“And the phone this morning hasn’t stopped ringing, so it’s a good sign,” she said Monday.

Teinturier said mills exhibiting at the show understand the dire conditions facing the industry, and are viewing next week as an opportunity to form stronger partnerships with customers and designers.

Mills “have to come with new ideas and more than ever it’s important to meet with your vendors,” Teinturier said.

Prefab: The Supima Premium Fabric Show will return to a two-day format at Gotham Hall on Jan. 13 and 14. Buxton Midyette, marketing director for Supima, which organizes Prefab, said registration for the sourcing show has been in line with previous editions. More than 50 mills have sent in collections to be displayed at the show.

“Most of the impact would be on the buy side,” Midyette said. “I think people will come. They’ll want to see what’s new and different out in the marketplace.”

Midyette said he has seen mills respond to the poor economy by becoming more focused on innovative design and fabrics.

“It’s a focusing moment for the industry,” he said. “I see our mills really reaching and raising standards. That’s the only way for them to survive. It’s either that or a battle for the basement in terms of pricing, which won’t work for pima.”

Supima is also presenting its second runway show on the evening of Jan. 14. The show will feature the designs of 21 new designers who responded to an open call for entries in November and were selected by a panel of judges. The winners have been provided Supima fabric to create a women’s wear piece.

The American pima cotton industry was hard hit in 2008 and is likely to see continued declines this year. Pima cotton, an extra long staple fiber significantly more expensive than conventional cotton, was priced at more than $1.26 a pound for December. The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects 2008 pima production to come in at 444,000 480-pound bales, down 48 percent from peak production of 851,800 bales a year ago.

Kingpins, the premium denim trade show, is set for Jan. 13 to 14 at 336 West 37th Street.

Andrew Olah, chief executive officer of Olah Inc., which produces Kingpins along with Dow XLA, has expanded the roster of mills with some of the biggest names in denim. Cone Denim, Turkey’s Orta Anadolu and Spain’s Tavex will exhibit with Kingpins for the first time. Together with Kurabo, Kingpins will feature four of the world’s denim mills.

“I want the show in the long term to be a global sourcing show and, above all, to make sense,” said Olah, whose goal is to expand the show with the top producers in each of the top region’s of the world. This year’s show will feature 19 mills.

Olah is confident that trade shows can provide an invaluable service to buyers in difficult times.

“I believe trade shows are one of the industries that these kinds of times are perfect for if you do them properly,” Olah said. “People are cutting budgets, so if they want to stop traveling, interesting shows area a great way to save money and to make yourself intelligent about new product development.”

But Olah acknowledged that buyers are facing extreme pressure to reduce costs while delivering a quality product.

“Everybody in every position is stressed,” he said.

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