L.A. SHOW WINS THE WEST

Byline: Michael McNamara

LOS ANGELES — Although the bulk of the attendance continued to be regional, the Los Angeles International Textile Show in its fourth edition last week further strengthened its position as a key event on the fabric show calendar.
Sampling was brisk, and many apparel makers said they found what they were looking for.
Among the most sought-after items — which included a mix of fall 1995 and spring 1996 collections — were:
Novelty knits in a range of fabrications, including acetate, rayon, polyester and cotton.
Corduroy, both in prints and solids.
Novelty woven fabrics, especially in jacquards and high twisted fabrics, both in prints and solids.
Stretch fabrics, primarily in spandex blended with polyester, nylon and cotton.
Cosponsored by the Textile Association of Los Angeles (TALA) and the California Mart, the three-day showcase of 350 fabrics, trimmings and machinery firms concluded last Wednesday. It was the show’s fourth edition, and attracted slightly more than 7,000 buyers, a 10 percent increase over the previous edition held in April, and a 30 percent gain over last October’s stand, according to mart officials.
About 80 percent of the buyers attending were from west of the Mississippi River, according to the Mart, and about one in 20 buyers was from outside of the U.S. Most of the international buyers that did attend came from Mexico and South America.
“This visit is the third time I’ve been to this show,” said Benito Perez, a marketing executive of Elan Ayala, a Parras, Mexico, apparel manufacturer, who was shopping for printed novelty knits for women’s and children’s wear. Perez was one of about 100 Mexican buyers who attended the show, according to Mart statistics.
“In the past I’ve found items from Lida and Tandler, but this year I’m looking to expand the collections, and possibly use some fabrics from Pressman-Gutman, Lorber or some novelty items from Naturally Knits,” Perez said. “It surprises me that more Mexican buyers don’t come here, because there are some great resources. I think the Mart needs to do a little more advertising and promotion.”
As reported, mart management has stated that it plans to do more promotion to build a larger domestic and international audience.
Barbara White, principal of Simply Charming, a dress and sportswear maker in Los Angeles, said she was adding several cotton and polyester knits next fall, “and we’re looking a lot at Andrex. They seem to have some nice textured fabrics with a lot of vibrant colors.”
Corduroy, primarily in fabrications for fall 1995, also had a strong response.
“[Corduroy] is something that hasn’t been really popular in a long time,” said Alison Lockwood, owner of Flip Flop Funwear, an infants’ wear manufacturer in Glendale, Calif. “I think we are starting to see the beginning of a trend, especially in printed corduroy. It’s an alternative to denim. I’m looking primarily at corduroy from Majestic and JL DeBall.”
“I’m looking at a line of corduroy from Majestic, which I may incorporate into a shirting application next fall,” said Terrence Gray, owner of Gray Distributing, Seattle, a maker of shirts and other tops, who was making his second visit to the event. “Denim is great, but corduroy, especially in shirtings, adds a little bit of a different-type look, especially when printed or done in bright colors.”
Stretch fabrics were another attention grabber.
Sobel Balaban, vice president for product development at Chorus Line, a Los Angeles-based dress and sportswear manufacturer, said that in addition to stretch goods, she was also searching for novelty knits, wovens and even lace.
Balaban, who was shopping mainly for the Chorus Line’s junior dress division, All That Jazz, said, “anything with texture is very strong right now, and there were several knit resources that had some strong offerings.”
“I didn’t see a tremendous amount of hot woven items, although there were a few high-twist things we may be interested in,” Balaban said. “We also saw some interesting lace products, but it’s still up in the air whether we may use them.
“I’m looking for a few more upscale items,” said Sawyer Stevens, fabric buyer for All Day, a sportswear and ready-to-wear firm in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. “We’re going to give jacquards, in both top and bottom weights, some serious attention [at the L.A. show]. I’ve already made stops at de Marco and Erlanger Blumgart, and will probably sample some of their goods.”
While buyers were shopping for fabrics, they were also being asked to help determine future dates for the textile show.
During the show, every buyer entering the Mart received a survey questionnaire asking them to select what they felt was the best scheduling for the event.
As reported, the two associations representing the top fabric exhibitors, remain at odds over the best times to stage the show. TALA, which represents about 100 of the California-based exhibitors, wants to maintain the April/October schedule that the show has been on since its inception.
“California needs the attention of a good, strong show,” said Barry Sacks, chairman of Chorus Line, who said he prefers an April/October schedule, as that’s when a lot of his firm’s plans are being formulated. “It’s especially important from a relationship standpoint, whether you buy something or not. It’s good to get with the principals of companies that you do business with and spend time with them.”
The Textile Distributors Association, which represents New York mills and converters and endorses the show by featuring 40 of its larger members in Los Angeles, is working to have the shows held in August and January.
At latest available count, Mart officials had tallied about 3,500 ballots and said that a slight majority wanted to keep to an April/October schedule.
The TDA appears to have won the first battle, as the next edition will be held Jan. 23-25.
TALA, the Mart and the TDA met last Tuesday for about an hour, and decided to wait until the January edition was held before making a decision on future shows. Maurice (Corky) Newman, president and chief executive of the Mart, said he remains confident that a deal to satisfy both parties can be worked out.
“The dates have been an issue for several months now,” said Newman, “but I’m grateful that January’s show is going to go on as scheduled and that [TALA and the TDA] will continue to talk. This show is a very important one, and I think both sides realize its meaning.”

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