NEW YORK — Kingpins New York has pulled the plug on its Continuum section and is integrating its message of sustainable apparel sourcing into the rest of the show.

This story first appeared in the January 8, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

A number of Continuum exhibitors, such as Saitex International and Monadnock Paper Mills, will be back as Kingpins exhibitors, while others that had participated in both Kingpins and Continuum, including Bossa Denim & Sportswear and Nexgen Packaging, will remain with Kingpins. The show, which is focused on denim and the supply and service needs of jeanswear marketers, runs on three floors of Center 548, at 548 West 22nd Street here, on Jan. 15 and 16.

Introduced last January as a partnership between Olah Inc., owner of Kingpins, and Continuum Textiles, Kingpins became Continuum’s sole sponsor at July’s edition of Kingpins New York. But Andrew Olah, chief executive officer of the firm which bears his surname, found sustainability, a concept that’s growing in importance, a difficult sell nonetheless.

“We found that it just wasn’t tenable to make a show that was specifically identified as ‘green,’” Olah told WWD. “Retailers would walk in and see an entire floor devoted to sustainability and just walk away. It shocked me that they would react that way to something dedicated to sustainable textiles and related products, but that’s what was happening. We put a lot of thought and effort into it and wound up with a lot less activity than we thought we would.

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“The thinking now is to integrate the message,” he said. “It’s like we’re putting the organic produce right next to the rest of the produce in a supermarket.”

Olah sees environmental awareness becoming more a matter of “standard operating procedure” within the apparel and textile markets, making integration of green materials and practices more palatable in the coming years at trade events, as well as in stores.

Among the other Kingpins exhibitors with substantial sustainability initiatives are Central Fabrics, Cone Denim, Ecotex, LST Laser and Copen United. Fibermax is among the show’s sponsors.

Fifty exhibitors are signed up for the January market, a small increase from the 46 firms at the January and July markets in 2012.

“In general, there’s been no problem with exhibitors whatsoever, either in Los Angeles or New York,” Olah said. “I’m not sure if it’s an economic issue or more of a behavioral one, but Asia has been a bit more difficult. We’re a specialized boutique show and most of our exhibitors are still in the process of building relationships with companies in Asia.”

With the elimination of Continuum on the second floor of Center 548, exhibitors of all types will be housed on the second and third floors, with the fourth floor reserved for networking, socializing and educational activity.

Kingpins Los Angeles runs Jan. 22 and 23 at the Cooper Design Space, located at 860 South Los Angeles Street. The Hong Kong and Shanghai editions of the show are scheduled for two-day runs beginning on Feb. 20 and March 13, respectively.

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