Byline: Brid Costello

PARIS — The mood at the recent Texworld trade fair, which runs concurrently with Premiere Vision, was more sedate than previous years.
The fair, which ran from Oct. 3 to 6 at the C.N.I.T. conference center in La Defense, France, boasted 57 percent more exhibitors than in October 2000, but buyer attendance was down, according to vendors.
As was the case at Premiere Vision and other European fashion events that have gone on since Sept. 11, vendors noted a marked decline in the number of non-European buyers in town for the show. That prompted many vendors to plan to travel to New York and other cities to show their lines later in the season.
“We didn’t see many customers from the U.S. who usually come every year,” said Rajib Dudhoria, exports director at J. J. Spectrum Silk Ltd., based in Kolkata, India, who added that generally American buyers represent 25 percent of annual orders for the firm. Dudhoria noted that Asian and French buyers had also stayed away.
“For the past two or three years we’ve seen a lot of U.S. buyers but this time they didn’t come,” agreed P.K. Gupta, executive director of Pasari Exports Ltd. He noted that sales were down by about 20 percent year-on-year, but that buyers who did make it to the Texworld show were placing orders.
Designer Tracy Reese of New York-based T.R. Designs Inc., was not letting a gloomy economic climate cloud her plans for next season and was planning to keep her spending on an even level with last year.
“I’m optimistic,” she said. “I have had a great response to [my spring collection] and department store business is good, maybe because people shop when they’re nervous.”
Reese, who was in Paris in search of fabrics for fall-winter 2002-2003 and backup fabrics for spring-summer, also was checking out Texworld for competitive prices on basic fabrics.
So was Irving Goodman, who was at the show buying for London-based eveningwear firm Medici Ltd.
“I’ve been to Premiere Vision and I want to see what I saw there at better prices,” said Goodman, who was hunting primarily for prints and lace.
“They want to see trends at Premiere Vision and then they come here to see what they can buy,” said Wagner Sanchez, export sales coordinator at Sao Paolo-based Vicunha Textil SA. Sanchez named polyester-and-rayon blended fabrics priced at about $4 per kilogram as among his bestsellers.
Distressed fabrics and stretch denim were some of the most in-demand fabric trends.
At Istanbul-based Calik Holding, all varieties of denim were selling well, according to Mehmet Gokdemir, assistant general manager of marketing, though most customers were browsing rather than ordering, he added. Fabrics at that stand ranged in price from $3.50 to $4.50 per meter.
Sequined silk was also a strong feature at the show.
At Hong Kong-based Connaught Industries Ltd., hand-beaded and embroidered fabrics selling at about $20 per meter were popular with buyers from all countries, according to managing director Michael Pas.
Sequins and embroidery were attracting interest at Mumbai, India-based National Export Corp., where chief executive officer Sunil Shroff said that a dark sequined fabric was among the bestsellers. That company’s fabrics sold for between $45 and $350 per meter.
Designers were, however, largely hesitant about springing for high-end materials, conscious that if economic conditions worsen, luxury products may be a hard sell.
“People won’t think so much about being sexy, but more about just covering themselves and keeping warm,” said Hamburg, Germany-based designer Dunja Tiedemann.

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