Byline: S. Gray Maycumber

NEW YORK — Interlinings producers, almost across the boards, were very pleased with this year’s Bobbin show. Most felt that traffic was good, although some felt it was a little below last year, but they all said that the quality of visitors was particularly high and that there were a lot of new contacts made.
The majority said that Tuesday (opening day) and Wednesday were the best days.
While, surprisingly, some new U.S. apparel customers were reported by exhibitors, most said that the new business was coming from Mexico and Central and South America. Also, good contacts were signed with companies from Eastern Europe, Turkey, Southeast Asia and Korea.
If there was a complaint it was the old one about margins. Most interlinings producers have no complaints about volume, but plenty about squeezed margins.
It would be hard to find a more upbeat group than was manning the booth of Facemate Corp.
“This is an excellent show for us,” said Bob MacAdam, vice-president, marketing. “Usually it is rare for us to write business during the show. This year we have written a lot of business and have significant opportunities to do more. There is a very positive attitude this year.
“Our plants are busy, and we anticipate an even better year in ’95,” he added.
Facemate is a major supplier of shirt interlinings and has been seeing the WR trend helping sales.
The company’s new polyester FaceFuse line was getting a lot of attention. “This is a spun poly with a cotton-like hand for heat setting. This is excellent for wrinkle-resistant shirts. The fused parts in WR come out smoother than the shell fabric,” MacAdam said.
He added, “We have a whole line of fusibles being used in WR, about six to eight products. We have a lot of sales to WR shirt people, although the product wasn’t specifically developed for this market originally. Our interlinings are pre-cured before fusible coating. The manufacturer can use them as pre- or post-cure.”
Mike Kohler, Facemate’s president, told DNR, “WR won’t be a temporary thing. It will be the way to make a shirt in the future.”
The other major shirt interlining producer, Staflex/Harotex, was also enjoying a good show. However, Bob Calice, vice-president, said he was not experiencing the traffic of last year. “This is a different show. There are more South Americans here, particularly from Peru and Columbia. There is a new middle class in those countries that wants better clothing products.”
He said that Staflex’s shirting business is bigger this year. “The wrinkle-resistant business is very big. Our Etacol fusibles are doing very well here. They are very compatible with WR post- and pre-cured products, although they were not originally designed for WR.”
Hof Textiles was showing several new interlining products. Gene Satterthwaite, vice-president/CEO, said he was seeing “good traffic, but the show could be better.” However, he did feel that this year’s Bobbin was better than last year’s.
Hof was showing several new lightweight products to go with the new lightweight women’s wear fabrics, Satterthwaite said. “Everybody is moving to lighter fiber blends.” He said he was also getting a good reception with a heavyweight style for men’s wear.
He said that, in the blend area, Hof had a “secret” blend of fibers in an interlining line to “give uniformity and strength.”
He added that Hof is increasing its distribution in Mexico by naming John Solomon, Inc., as distributor there.
Solomon will also represent Crown Textiles in that country.
Crown Textiles was having a very good show, according to Dick Kenney, president. “Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday were very good. Thursday was a little dead.”
According to Steve Elstein, vice-president, “The show has been very good for us. Most major garment manufacturers are here and there is a lot of optimism.”
Kenney noted, “Medium-price suit manufacturers are doing very well. This helps Crown, because we are a major supplier of interlinings in that area. There are also a lot of new clothing manufacturers in the southern U.S.”
He added that Crown was having strong traffic for its neckwear and headwear interlinings. “We have gotten some significant leads in the specialty and industrial markets, also.”
Salvatore Paterna, president of John Solomon, who represents Crown and Hof in Mexico, told DNR, “We supply all U.S.-made products to the Mexican market. We are a one-stop shopping source for interlining and other apparel products, such as shoulder pads and pocketing.”
“We are helping Mexican manufacturers develop their business to an extent that they can be a good alternative to the Orient. Mexican apparel production will double next year,” according to Hector Ballon, who heads up the Mexican operation.
He added that some U.S. fabrics were involved and this was growing.
At Hollingsworth & Vose, Tuesday and Wednesday were also the big days. According to James Gay, product manager, apparel and specialty nonwovens, “Thermal bonding is what everybody is looking for because it gives a softer hand.”
As for the markets, Gay said, “Women’s wear is very price competitive, but men’s wear is more quality competitive.”
In an attempt to cut production costs, he said, “Manufacturers are trying to use the same weight of interlining in many applications, rather than several different weights in men’s and women’s wear.”
New at H&V is a full range of fusibles with a new adhesive that works well at pressing ranges from 210 to 280 degrees F. “This permits manufacturers to double the speed of the pressing.”
Gay said that H&V is also stepping up its sales south of the border. “We have distributors in eight South American countries and two in Mexico. The South American market has been good for us.”
H&V’s booth featured a placket fusing machine and also a waistband machine.
At the QST/Haber booth, a veteran of many Bobbin Shows, Sid Pokorney, vice-president, proclaimed the show, “pretty good.” He said that QST “had some good European visitors.”
Canadian Hair Cloth Ltd., a veteran exhibitor at Bobbin, was showing 66-inch hair cloth for interlinings. Horse hair was less common, CHC people said, and this was made of goat hair. Despite the current political climate, and the desire for politically correct fashions, the company said there had been no real interest in hair-cloth shirtings.

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