SWATCHES

ATMI NOD TO MATERIAL WORLD: The American Textile Manufacturers’ Institute this month endorsed the upcoming Material World textile show, encouraging its members to participate in the inaugural event.
Material World is produced by Fairchild Urban Expositions, an Atlanta-based partnership of Fairchild Publications Inc., which publishes WWD and Urban Expositions & Development.
In a statement, ATMI executive vice president Carlos Moore said, “The Material World show and the collateral events surrounding the exhibit will offer our member companies the opportunity to improve their business contacts, sell their products and gain information that will no doubt assist them in their business dealings in the global marketplace.”
The first edition of Material World is to run Sept. 25-27 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Beach, Fla. The Textile Distributors Association has also endorsed the show.
“To be officially recognized by an organization like ATMI that focuses its efforts on continually strengthening the U.S.’s position in the global textile marketplace speaks volumes about the important role Material World will play in today’s textile industry,” Doug Miller, president of Fairchild Urban Expositions, said in a statement.
Show organizers said they expected the show to feature about 400 booths, with exhibitors including makers and importers of textiles and trims, as well as software and computer-aided design firms and industry-related service companies, such as sourcing, customs and financial organizations.

UNIFI BUYS DYER: Unifi Inc. last week said it has acquired Intex Yarns Ltd., a dyeing operation located in Manchester, U.K. The Greensboro, N.C.-based yarn-texturizer said the deal would allow it to better serve customers around the world.
The move raises Unifi’s dye capacity by 4,000 tons a year, and the company said it intends to upgrade the plant over the next 18 to 24 months and plans to keep all 200 employees on staff.
“This acquisition is a logical addition to our yarn production facility in Letterkenny, Ireland and allows us to offer our European customers a unique advantage in the marketplace,” said Brian Parke, the company’s chief executive officer.

STERLING SETS ACRYLIC HIKE: Sterling Fibers Inc. of Pace, Fla., said it intends to raise its charges for acrylic fibers by 5 to 11 percent, effective April 1.
In a Friday statement, the company attributed the move to “the continued upward spiraling of raw material prices as well as the sharp rise in transportation costs due to increased oil prices.”
For almost a year now, the rising cost of oil has driven up the price of man-made fibers.
Earlier this month, four top producers of polyester filament — DuPont, KoSa, Nan Ya Plastics Corp. America and Wellman Inc. — said they would seek a fourth increase in price since mid-1999. However, fiber executives have said that their spiraling costs have generally outpaced whatever increases they’ve been able to achieve.
While yarn makers and mills — facing tough times of their own — initially reacted skeptically when the fiber makers said they would raise their rates, they have slowly and begrudgingly accepted them. Fabric executives now say that they’ve been able in some cases to pass along some of the fiber-price increase to their own customers, but admit that’s not been the norm.
Most fiber executives have been reluctant to speculate on how long they’ll need to continue raising prices, but said they’ll continue to be pressured by the rising cost of petroleum.

LYCRA’S NEW LOOK: With sandal season just around the corner, DuPont is ready to roll out an innovative product aimed at shy types.
On April Fool’s Day, spandex maker DuPont Lycra plans to begin selling “toeless hosiery” on its Web site — and that’s no joke. It’s a product targeted for the woman who wants to wear an open-toe shoe without baring her legs.
According to Linda Kearns, global brand manager for Lycra, the new hose is already in demand with consumers — she said that the company has received around a thousand advance orders on its Web site.
Kearns discovered the toeless stockings on a business trip to Brazil, where she saw a colleague wearing them. Intrigued, she asked for a pair and fell for the idea.
“I thought it was an interesting concept to bring back to other regions of the world that weren’t as innovative as Brazil has been in this case,” she said.
While she said that hosiery manufacturers and retailers have already expressed interest in the idea, DuPont thought that selling the product directly to consumers for a limited time would be a good way of drumming up more enthusiasm in the market.
“The intent was to bring innovation and new concepts to the marketplace,” she explained, “so consumers could experience the benefits of Lycra in new types of hosiery.”
The company plans to sell the stockings, which are made in Brazil, on its Web site, Lycra.com, for $6 a pair for the duration of the summer.

FOUR LEAF PLANT BLOOMS: Yarn spinner Four Leaf Textiles earlier this month embarked on a $4 million expansion of its Spindale, N.C., plant, doubling its capacity.
The facility, owned by the former Stonecutter Mills, produces specialty ring-spun cotton yarns for knitted apparel. The expansion will increase the plant’s workforce from 60 to about 170, and Four Leaf management noted that it is accepting applications from workers who lost their jobs when Stonecutter Mills last June shuttered its textile operations.
In a statement, Four Leaf chief executive officer David Roberts said that the move “expands our ability to service and meet the ever-increasing demand for specialty yarn. Secondly, the expansion allows us to further impact the local economy by expanding job opportunities here.
Four Leaf, which has been in operation since July 1998, noted that the expansion will increase its total weekly production capacity from 400,000 pounds to 550,000 pounds.

TOMMY HOSTS GO GLOBAL: The American Printed Fabrics Council, which holds the annual Tommy Awards honoring innovation in printed fabrics, has adopted a global focus and dropped the word “American” from its name.
“This is a statement we have been considering for some time, and we feel the time is right to implement this change,” Lou Oltman, chairman of the group’s executive committee, said in a statement. “For years, many European and Asian printers and design operations have expressed an interest in joining the council.”
The group said that it would now allow foreign-based companies to join the group and compete for its annual awards. It also said that beginning next year it will present an award for the best foreign print design and best student design.
The Tommy Awards ceremony is held in October.

KOSA OPENS SOUTH AMERICA: Polyester manufacturer KoSa, based in Houston, has opened sales offices in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Guatemala City, Guatemala.
The company named Eduardo Hernandez sales manager for Brazil. He last served as fibers export manager.
In Guatemala, KoSa appointed Francisco Ortega as sales manager. His last position had also been as fibers export manager.
Both executives report to Marco Espinosa, export director for Mexico and Latin America.
KoSa also has offices in the U.S., Mexico, Germany, the Netherlands and Turkey.

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