TOUTING TEXAS

Byline: HOLLY HABER

DALLAS — Naturally Texas is taking its message to the streets in a billboard advertising campaign that bows in April.
To exhort consumers to purchase Texas products, the ads will display the four logos of the state’s fiber, wine, horticulture and food industries under a headline that reads “Buy Texas.” Below the logos will be the tagline “Now available at a retailer near you.”
Naturally Texas is a campaign by the state Department of Agriculture to promote Texas’s sizable cotton, wool, mohair and leather industries. At three years old, Naturally Texas claims 230 diverse members, from companies that make women’s sportswear to producers of mohair, baby booties and saddles. Any member can affix the association’s Naturally Texas hangtag to its products to play up their Texas origin.
The billboards will be seen for six months along highways in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. A slightly different half-page ad with the same theme will run in the April and June issues of Texas Monthly magazine.
“The whole program is based on label identification,” said Christie Scardino, director of Naturally Texas’s Dallas office. “We also did a roundtable with seven retailers in January to see how we can push Naturally Texas and promote it at their level.”
To wit, Naturally Texas will make the “Buy Texas” ads available to retailers to publish in local media along with their names and addresses as a source for Texas products. The association also plans to print posters with the same theme for stores to display.
“It all rolls back to our goal of establishing Texas as a major player in the fashion industry,” Scardino said.
In addition, Naturally Texas will again stage a runway show in the International Apparel Mart to highlight styles by its members. Scheduled for March 30, it will kick off in the Great Hall with a 5:30 p.m. reception for participants and their guests, followed by a 6:30 p.m. presentation that is free to anyone at market.
The show will open with a 10-minute video by Scardino that previews new fall fabrics using natural fibers. Slides from some of the European fall ready-to-wear shows will be featured.
Next, styles from 60 to 70 lines will parade the runway. The show typically is heavy on updated traditional clothing and western-influenced fashions, plus some leather boots and bags. Members pay to show their styles — $125 for two looks, $200 for four and $500 for six and a reserved table. The show is sponsored by Cotton Inc., Heller Financial, Mohair Council of America, the American Wool Council and Women’s Wear Daily.

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