KTA FORECAST SET: The Knitted Textile Association plans to hold its annual financial forecast Wednesday at 8 a.m. at Arno’s Restaurant in Manhattan.

This year’s speakers are Mark Golivan, senior regional economist for J.P. Morgan; Carl Steidtmann, chief economist at Deloitte & Touche, and consultant Nicholas Hahn of Hahn International. This year’s topic is, “Now that all the experts acknowledge we are in a recession, what are the prospects for a nearby and strong recovery?”

COMO COMES TO N.Y.: In an effort to boost the region’s renown in the U.S., a privately run association of businesses from Como, Italy, has set up a joint export office in New York under the name Comoex USA.

Run by consultant Carlo Gentilomo, the company will initially focus on promoting the region’s textile products in the tristate area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

“The tristate area compares to a good-sized European country,” Gentilomo said in a Friday interview at his Manhattan apartment, which is serving as a temporary home for Comoex while it looks for office space.

The initial participants in the group are Skyline, a maker of fashion fabrics; Arratex, a yarn maker; Brenna Edoardo, which produces upholstery textiles; Bianchi Giovani, producer of ties and scarves; Tessilstampa, maker of window treatments, and Lisar, which sets up retail boutiques.

Gentilomo said Comoex will start promoting other members of Consorzio Como Export over the coming year. About 50 businesses from the region belong to the organization, which does not receive funding from the Italian government.

Gentilomo acknowledged that reaching out to U.S. buyers has become a higher priority for European fabric vendors since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which have left some in the industry reluctant to keep up intensive overseas travel schedules.

“People don’t feel as comfortable traveling,” he said. “It’s easier to have 10, 20, 50 mills here so people can browse. Why does the buyer always have to travel?”

GREGORY LANDS AT FRISBY: Frisby Technologies Inc., the maker of the performance fabric Comfortemp, on Thursday named former VF Corp. and London Fog executive Robert E. Gregory Jr. to its board, expanding its total number of directors to seven.

Gregory started his industry career in 1972 at Spartan Mills. From 1979 to 1990, Gregory worked at VF, first heading the Lee brand and later being promoted to president and chief operating officer. After a stint at Gitano, he spent four years as chairman and chief executive officer of London Fog Industries. Gregory is now a partner in Los Angeles-based Aurora Capital Group, an investment concern.