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Textile shows see better times ahead.
This story first appeared in the June 24, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
NEW YORK — Organizers of international textile shows have already seen the poor economy cut into their exhibitor and attendance figures, but believe pent up demand and faint glimmers of optimism will lift their shows during the last half of the year. Jacques Brunel, Première Vision’s general manager and international director, believes the textile and broader apparel industry has gone through a battle for survival. Those left standing at this point, he said, will likely make it, but everybody has sustained some damage. Première Vision Preview will take place July 15 to 16 here at the Metropolitan Pavilion, and Brunel said the number of exhibitors presenting is expected to be around 100. That represents a 10 percent decline from last year’s edition, a fact Brunel accepts as a reality of the environment.
“The mills all know that the American market is very difficult,” said Brunel. “If they are there, it is proof of their strength and creativity. They believe in the product and the capacity of the U.S. market to buy their product.” Brunel also recognizes mills that decide not to show in the U.S. are quickly forgotten by buyers, making it difficult to reestablish those relationships when economic conditions improve. “If you leave the market, the market will forget you at once,” he said. “They will have to fight again to recover their position in the market.” Brunel also draws confidence from Première Vision Preview’s track record of success. The July edition will be the 19th, and the January show will mark the show’s 10th anniversary.
“After nearly 10 years, we observe that Première Vision Preview has done it’s job,” he said. “We have been a launch pad for many companies. Many have set up an office or subsidiary in New York. They are working and they are suffering as the others, but they are there.” Brunel expects buyers will still be focused mainly on price, but he believes they will approach the show with far more optimism than they did last July and January, when economic conditions seemed to be at their worst. The July edition will feature five trend presentations by Sabine le Chatelier, the show’s fashion associate director. Texworld USA will return to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center from July 14 to 16. The show will welcome six mills from Mauritius for the July show, bringing the number of exhibitors to more than 135. The Mauritius mills include denim specialist Firemount Textiles, Palmar Limitee Knits and Wovens, RS Denim, RT Knits and Start Knitwear Group.
Kingpins, a show targeted toward the premium denim segment, is moving to the Skyline Studios for its next show, which will take place July 14 and 15. A new show will also make its debut in New York from July 20 to 22. The SpinExpo yarn fair will take place at the Metropolitan Pavilion and intends to present buyers with some of the world’s best spinners. A Shanghai version of the show has been going on for seven years. Karine Van Tassel, the show’s director, said there has been interest in having a show in the U.S. for several years, but she feels market conditions are now ideal. “We were surprised to see that more and more U.S. sourcing managers were coming from New York City to Shanghai,” said Van Tassel. “Los Angeles we could understand because it’s closer to Asia…but New York, that was very surprising.”
Van Tassel believes as globalization has progressed, cost advantages once enjoyed by certain countries over others have been eliminated. With a more even playing field, Van Tassel believes buyers can benefit from an international fair and focus on finding the best product rather than fixating on prices. “The world of textiles has changed with the economy,” she said. “People are aware that you have to buy it better, not cheaper.” SpinExpo will host 75 exhibitors from 15 countries. Van Tassel said more than 350 people had preregistered as of last week and that she expected around 3,000 to attend. Special attention will be paid to showing buyers how the yarn performs as a fabric and a developed look.
“When it comes to sourcing for something as technical as the yarn you’re going to use for fabrics, this becomes much more complicated so you have to illustrate it,” she said. “The buyers want to see what it will look like once it’s processed. They can find that in our show.” One show that won’t be returning to New York for the summer session is Prefab: The Supima Premium Fabric Show. Buxton Midyette, marketing director for Supima, said the show will return for the January textile market week. “The January shows focus on spring-summer, and that really is the strongest season for Supima in terms of lighter weight fabrics and the types of fabrics that are being marketed at that time,” said Midyette. “That’s where we want to channel and focus our energy.” Competition on the West Coast will continue to heat up through the end of the year. GlobalTex hosted its first show in late April, attracting some 125 exhibitors and more than 2,200 visitors. The show will return to the Los Angeles Convention Center Oct. 13 to 15.
Bill Winsor, president and chief executive officer of Market Center Management, which organizes the show, said he was pleased with the first edition and believes it has set a solid platform from which to grow the show. “It met our expectation in terms of the look and feel and excitement of the event,” said Winsor. For the October edition, Winsor expects to triple the number of exhibitors to between 325 and 375. He said the April show had 2,300 attendees, but some 2,500 have already pre-registered for the next show. “With this upcoming event we feel very strongly about getting a good representation from places like Turkey, more from Italy and France,” he said. He also expects to have more exhibitors from Latin America. According to Winsor, other international
trade associations have been more receptive to joining the show after hearing about favorable reaction to the debut event.
Winsor also feels buyers and exhibitors alike will be more optimistic heading into the show. “People were pretty apprehensive during the first quarter this year,” he said. “I think the shakeout has occurred and that in terms of anxiety level, people can now look around and realize they still have a job.” The Los Angeles International Textile Show and Material World have partnered their shows. Both will take place Sept. 20 to Oct. 2 at the California Market Center.