A designer free hand painting on a base fabric that is resist printed at Design House Kaze. This helps to create a three-dimensional effect. Photo courtesy of JETRO.

The Japan External Trade Organization, a government-based firm, will host its first Japan Textile Salon, Jan. 17 and 18, in New York City. The event will take place at The Altman Building.

A slim selection of 22 textile exhibitors was chosen to showcase design techniques and the use of various fabrications and materials. The show aims to increase sales and distribution channels within the U.S. market for each exhibitor, according to the firm.

The Textile Salon will introduce Japanese color trends for the upcoming spring 2019 season with a focus two themes: Moon Night Diver, a compilation of blues purples and greens that “depict the interplay of light and show;” and Biotech Lab, a “nature-inspired” palette comprised of botanical greens and blue-greens.

Notable fabrics for display include organic cottons, Coolmax, premium fabrics made by a special circular loom that employs a traditional silk braiding technology, and water-repellent stretch fabrics. And technologies will be on display, such as inkjet printing techniques and traditional Japanese hand-printing methods, according to the organization.

Asuka Yatabe, a project coordinator for the Japan External Trade Organization, told WWD that the exhibitors selected are “among the top weavers, design studios and manufacturers. This show is extremely focused.”

The Mitsubishi creation process. Photograph courtesy of JETRO. 

Yatabe said JETRO narrowed down its exhibitor list by enlisting the help of the Japan Fashion Week Organization, a major player in the Japanese textile industry. The companies selected for the salon are “highly compatible” with the global market, according to Yatabe. “Many of them have already established strong relationships with very well-known design houses based in Europe and through various textile shows we host in partnership with Japan Fashion Week.”

Each exhibitor was selected because of his or her contribution to the show’s “uniqueness” regarding novelty in textures, fabric innovation or use of natural materials; craftsmanship in printing techniques or technology; functionality, or utilitarian fabrics, and ecology, for the use of sustainable materials. Companies exhibiting at the salon include Styletex Co., Numajiri Textile Laboratory, Design House Kaze Corp., Sunwell and StyleM.

“Novelty and functionality are the key words that kept coming up,” Yatabe said. “We were hearing stories from the key industry players [and] these were the two qualities that they most expect from Japanese textiles.” Functionality refers to synthetic, high-tech, stretch or deodorizing fabrics, while novelty denotes craftsmanship or the use of ancient techniques. And sustainable textiles are becoming “bigger and bigger” in Japan due to consumer demand. “[Many] consumers care about this very much. They want to know where the products are coming from.”

Yatabe also noted that the Textile Salon “will evoke inspiration and creativity” for fabric buyers pursuing authentic, quality, and unique Japanese fabrics. “This is what Japanese novelty fabrics are all about. We are confident buyers will leave our show with many special gems.”

JETRO will host a cocktail reception for attendees directly after the event on Jan. 17.

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