A NEW SPIN FOR TEXTILES

Byline: Scott Malone

NEW YORK — The U.S. textile industry is spinning a slew of changes in its trade shows next year.
The International Fashion Fabric Exhibition, this city’s largest textile event and now under the ownership of Advanstar Communications, is refining its approach and look. Meanwhile, the Italian Trade Commission continues to tweak the way that its Texitalia group presents fabric collections. Knit West & Sew, an event held in Los Angeles every other year, returns to the calendar. And the New York print shows expect to broaden in their exhibitor base.
Because Advanstar, which also owns Magic International, only closed on its purchase of IFFE’s parent, The Larkin Group, 2 1/2 months before last October’s edition, show management said the upcoming April staging will better reflect its new direction.
“When I walked in the door, everything was exhibitor-focused,” said Michael Press, who started as general manager of Larkin in August after the deal closed. That focus is changing to a buyer-centric view.
“Our mentality is if you have a line of retailers standing outside your booth, we can walk in and hit you over the head with a stick and you won’t mind, because you’re doing business,” he said. Advanstar is assembling a 14-member team to work solely on drawing retailers to the show, which also features a Private Label/Product Development Expo.
Many of the changes at the April IFFE will be cosmetic in nature: it will be held in a different hall at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center here, and Press also plans to rework the registration area to give it a distinctive new look.
“We want people to be able to walk in and say, ‘OK, this is different,”‘ he said. “That’s pretty important.”
The show will also be offering new amenities, like more food, concierges and a shuttle service, Press continued.
But that’s not all. In 2001, the show dates will be moved up a month, to March, because “the better manufacturer group, particularly the Europeans, need it to be in March,” he explained.
IFFE is also working to broaden its exhibitor base, to add more foreign exhibitors as well as major U.S. mills, which have not been represented at the show in recent years.
In addition, Press said, IFFE is negotiating with the Italian Trade Commission to see if its Texitalia group is interested in participating in the show.
An ITC spokeswoman said that it was “premature” to discuss that possibility, but said the ITC was “reconsidering the Italian participation in terms of textile trade shows in the U.S.”
Texitalia for the first time exhibited at the Los Angeles International Textile Show and presented Texitalia Club, a pre-collections exhibition, last fall. The ITC considered those two moves successful, the spokeswoman continued, and is now “reevaluating our participation in New York.”
The ITC is currently a sponsor of and major participant in New York’s European Textile Selections, scheduled for March. The spokeswoman said the ITC “fully supports” that show.
She also noted that the January edition of Texitalia Club, held in the Hotel Inter-Continental here, is expected to have about 50 exhibitors, up from fewer than 30 at the inaugural edition of the show, which was held in July.
May will bring the second edition of Knit West & Sew, an event held every other year by the National Knitwear & Sportswear Association, which also sponsors the annual Yarn Fair here.
According to show manager Joan Donner, the event is expected to host a broader assortment of yarn suppliers, makers of embroidery and sewing machinery, computer-aided design and manufacturing software providers, accessories companies and for the first time, trimmings resources.
Knit West & Sew, held in the Los Angeles Convention Center, will be sponsored by the Apparel Contractors’ Alliance of California, an alliance of four associations: the American-Chinese Garment Contractors Association, the Garment Contractors Association of Southern California, the Korean-American Garment Industry Association and the Northern California Chinese Garment Contractors Association.
Joe Rodriguez, executive director of the Apparel Contractors’ Alliance, said his group decided to sponsor the event because “it will promote the industry. And there is an attempt being made this time to incorporate more than the knitting, but also the actual cut-and-sew people, which is mostly what we are. Additionally, it happens that the people who head the show are our allies in promoting domestic apparel manufacturing.”
The third installment of English Accents, which is held at the New York Marriott Marquis and is the newest of the print shows, will also be held in January. Rowena Bristow, one of the show’s organizers, said she expected to see a large offering of embroidery, as well as prints.
“There will be a lot of embroidery. There’s been a lot of embellishment in fashion for the last year or so, and I see that continuing,” she said.

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