TEXTILE GALAS CANCELED

Byline: Scott Malone

NEW YORK — Three of the textile industry’s most prominent Manhattan holiday galas have been canceled for this year.
Cotton Inc.’s “Celebration of American Style” party at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Textile Distributors Association’s dinner-dance at the Rainbow Room and the American Printed Fabrics Council’s Tommy Awards ceremony at the Pierre Hotel will not be held in the coming months.
For the past 13 years, Cotton Inc.’s affair had been held at the Met and consistently attracted a crowd of several hundred top textile, apparel and retail executives. In 1998, it also attracted some unexpected attention — television cameras gathered on the museum steps after the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched a probe into how agricultural promotions organizations spent their budgets.
J. Berrye Worsham, president and chief executive officer of Cotton Inc., at the time justified the event’s high price tag — reported to be around $400,000 — as necessary to attract top decision makers. The USDA later gave the go-ahead for future parties.
In a Tuesday interview, Worsham said Cotton Inc. had decided before Sept. 11 to switch the event to a biannual schedule to reduce expenses without detracting from the event’s opulence.
He said Cotton Inc. already has gotten next year’s budget approved and noted that it calls for another edition of the party the first Thursday in December.
The TDA, which had planned to hold its affair at the Rainbow Room on Nov. 1, canceled because of the terrorist attacks.
“We did not think it was appropriate because of what has happened,” executive director Bruce Roberts said Tuesday, adding that the group hopes to reschedule the party for next spring.
The American Printed Fabrics Council, which in recent years had held its Tommy Awards presentations honoring innovations in printed fabrics at the Pierre Hotel in December, also has decided not to hold an event this year.
Beyond that, the group is analyzing what its place is in the industry and whether it should continue to exist, according to Seymour Schneiderman, president of New York converter Symphony Fabrics, who is active in council management.
“If we come up with good reasons for the organization to exist and carry on, then the awards will continue,” he said. “It would be a shame to see them go down the tubes.”

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