Byline: Margaret Mazzaraco

NEW YORK — There was some sweet talk about prints last Tuesday at a Valentine’s Day party at the Fashion Institute of Technology here.
The event, helping to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the college, was hosted by The Textile Distributors Association and The American Printed Fabrics Council, with all proceeds benefiting the school. The party was held in The Museum at FIT, and gave partygoers a chance to see the new exhibition, “Fashion Is a Verb! — Expanding the Definition,” highlighting the school’s multiple disciplines. About 200 industry executives, fabric stylists and guests were on hand.
Executives reported they had already received valentines in the form of increased business, after a sluggish period for prints.
“Orders are coming in at a higher rate than they did two months ago,” said George Shuster, chief executive officer of Cranston Print Works.
Wilson Reimers, partner and vice president of JBJ Fabrics, was another reporting an upbeat movement. “Stores were flooded with solids and they’ve backed away from them,” he said. “The femininity trend is coming, and flowers are the perfect way to be feminine.
“We’re selling retro and field flowers on spaced grounds, on crinkle and textured rayons,” he said.
David Caplan, president of Metro Fabrics, said the good news was that he’s gone from not being busy to being “totally jammed.” The bad news is there’s not enough desirable gray goods.
“There isn’t enough faille, not an inch left, it’s so hot,” he said.
Margaret Rzanicanin, vice president, styling, at Galey & Lord, said there’s much more interest in prints and she’s hoping for a much better year. “Our volume is with the Kmarts and Wal-Marts, and patchworks are still selling,” she noted.
Donna Wolfson, stylist of Symphony Fabrics, reported, “Business is very good, and 1994 was our best year.” She credited new fabrications and particularly novelties, such as acetate and Lycra spandex knits.
Pearl Marco, co-owner of de Marco California Fabrics, noted that stores are more active, which should eventually mean a lift for the fabrics business. “We’re doing a lot of knits, solid and printed, and there’s a renewed interest in border prints.”
Bob Attilio, vice president, sales, at Reeves Bros., said business in gray goods to converters is picking up, mostly in plaids, fancies and stripes. A key element in the season’s offerings are twist yarns for textural interest, he said.
Yarn-dyes were a bright story for Joel Cohn, executive vice president of Reltex, who noted that based on sampling and the news from Europe, yarn-dyes will continue strong. He expects to do particularly well with union-dyes and heathers in rayon and wool. “We’re sampling them well,” he said.