FIRST-DAY CROWDS ENERGIZE IFFE

Byline: Allegra Holch

NEW YORK — The Ninth International Fashion Fabric Exhibition at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center got off to a bustling start Monday morning. In the first three hours of the fair, exhibitors were surprised and pleased at the heavy traffic — especially the large number of international customers.
Buyers were particularly interested in high tech stretch fabrics with a glossy sheen, richly colored stretch velvets and lace and silk doupioni treated with laminated coatings for an unusual mix of luxury and high tech.
“The traffic has been good,” said Sid Appell, sales manager for Symphony Fabrics. Only two hours into the show, Appell said he’d received about six sample orders. “We have a good spot being the first booth as you enter,” he added. “Even a buyer from a men’s wear manufacturer sampled our fabrics, though we’re really a women’s resource.” According to Appell most of the interest was in Lycra spandex products “embellished with embossing.” He pointed out a bright orange stretch fabric with a shiny foil-processed surface.
Alan Steele, a salesman for Cranston Apparel Fabrics, was enthusiastic about the turnout. “So far, the traffic has been wonderful,” he said. “It’s surprising to see so many buyers this early on — and they’re coming from all over the world.”
Cranston’s main business is in prints and Steele was optimistic about the demand for them, particularly florals. “Based on what’s been happening in Europe, with so many prints, I think it will carry over to the U.S,” he said.
“We’ve had more people come by at this point in time than at any other show,” said Pearlann Marco, president of de Marco California Fabrics, a company that caters primarily to the junior market.
“I think we’re really on target as far as brights,” she noted, “and there have been buyers from all over the country — especially California.”
At Nipkow & Kobelt, Arnold Kobelt, president, said he was doing well with his high tech hologram fabrics. “You can’t mistake it for anything else,” he said. “When you put that up on the wall of your booth, everyone notices it.”
Trenztex Inc., a Los Angeles company, had a particularly busy booth. “It’s been great, so far,” said Rochelle Wells, a sales representative. Wells said she noticed a lot of demand for stretch metallic velvet, which the company was featuring.
Michael Baffico, a merchandiser for the Los Angeles-based junior company Roxywear, was looking for anything high tech. “The Taiwan Fashion area has some really good stuff,” he said. “I’ve been seeing some great stretch velvet and cool laminates — like laminated lace,” he said.
Kerri Linden, a hair accessories designer for Meridian, was shopping the show for the first time. “I’m really finding what I need,” she said. “At Shamash, we liked a lot of things — especially the beautiful colored silks.” Linden was also looking for high tech stretch fabrics and rain-slicker coatings.
Dina Cramer, merchandiser and fabric sourcer for Item Ltd., a contemporary sportswear firm, said she, too, was interested in “anything high tech, as well as stretch fabrics. We’re really hoping to find new things.”

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