Byline: Miles Socha

NEW YORK — Blaming troubles in the apparel industry and a crammed January calendar, The Fashion Association (TFA) has canceled its spring ’96 press preview, which had been scheduled for Jan. 14-16 at the New York Hilton.
Also, the TFA’s 1996 Aldo Awards for Fashion Reporting, scheduled for Jan. 15 at The Supper Club here, have been postponed until some time next spring.
“Business has not been terrific,” said TFA’s executive director Eric Hertz. “The promotional funding that is normally available for [the press preview] was not this time.”
Typically, the preview involves about 60 companies. Only 40 had registered for January.
Hertz said even some “key players” were not able to come through with funding, adding, “We did not feel the spring preview would be a strong enough event to warrant everyone’s involvement.”
For the first time, the event was to be held in conjunction with the National Retail Federation’s annual convention, also at the Hilton, as well as the Sheraton Centre. The preview was to include personal appearances by designers, trend presentations, retail roundtables and demonstrations of men’s wear, women’s wear, beauty and grooming products, neckwear, accessories and footwear.
The association, formerly known as the Men’s Fashion Association, for years focused exclusively on men’s wear. Two years ago, it began adding women’s apparel to its presentations. The canceled event would have been the first with a 50-50 ratio for men’s and women’s wear.
“That’s a ratio we plan to continue,” Hertz said.
Hertz stressed that the TFA wasn’t forced to cancel. “This was a judgment call on our part…we would rather focus on building an outstanding event rather than put on one that was not up to our standards.”
He acknowledged the preview “was coming together very late.” And the TFA had concerns that the timing of its event ran opposite the Italian men’s collections and the Pitti Imagine Uomo event in Florence.
“There just seemed to be too much on the calendar,” he said. “There were too many forces pulling our editors.”
TFA previews are attended by 50 to 100 editors, Hertz noted.
Eager to put a positive spin on the cancellation, Hertz said the TFA will now focus its energies on a major fall ’96 press preview in June or July, likely in New York.
Although he declined to give details, “our objective is to give this event a larger scope and make it a more comprehensive press event. We’re a few weeks away from finalizing details.
“The content and the format of the event is likely to change substantially,” he said.
Hertz said TFA also intents to expand its programs to encompass a year-round schedule of “events and information packets, trend reports and other types of information, in addition to the press previews.
“Part of what we’re trying to do is boost attendance. We would like to have more attendance by fashion magazines and broadcast media.”
Meanwhile, “the Aldo Awards will go forward,” Hertz said. “They will be held at some point this spring.”
The Aldos, held in conjunction with the TFA’s press previews, attract an audience of about 200 to 250.

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