NEW YORK — Textile vendors exhibiting at Material World’s inaugural New York show said quality, innovation and dependability were bringing buyers back to their booths.
The show ran Sept. 26-28 here at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and drew 325 exhibitors from 22 countries. Organizers declined to disclose attendance figures, but said in a statement following the event that attendance had exceeded expectations.
Demetrio Santoro, a salesman with Montreal-based performance fabric manufacturer Primotex, said domestic manufacturers have survived as foreign competitors have rested on their ability to produce goods cheaply rather than introducing new and higher-performing materials to the market.
“I went to China myself to check the market,” Santoro said. “They are still only copying us.”
Still, domestic fabric manufacturers have been unable to keep pace with the influx of goods from China. According to the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles & Apparel, the U.S. imported $466.6 million in fabric from China for the year ended in July, up 41.3 percent from a year ago. Apparel imports have soared 94.3 percent to $9.08 billion during the same period.
Dow Fiber Solutions drew attendees to its booth with free seminars on spring and summer 2007 trends led by trend forecaster Bengt Jacobsson.
While the trend seminars had attracted attendees, a Dow spokeswoman said more big-name brand representatives were seen at the European textile shows.
Dow is hoping to eliminate the need for ironing by combining noniron finishes with its Dow XLA fiber, an olefin-based stretch fiber developed three years ago that is resistant to chemicals and heat.
“It’s the first time to have a stretch fabric that is truly noniron,” the spokeswoman said.
Lucy DiCostanzo, a representative with Exotic Silks, said buyers were on the hunt for velvets of almost any kind. DiCostanzo said buyers were looking for printed, washed and wrinkled velvets, as well as materials that had a velvet feel.
David Stone, president and chief executive officer of Solid Stone Fabrics in Martinsville, Va., also witnessed the velvet craze.
“We’ve heard universally that people are looking for velvets,” said Stone. “They’re looking for everything from basic solids to crushed to a jacquard knit with a velvet touch. It all has a stretch base, as well.”
For Stone, who develops and sources fabrics globally, getting his goods into the country is proving to be the major difficulty. Solid Stone Fabrics is partnered with Eclipse Textiles Asia Pacific.
“The biggest issue is Customs, I’d say,” said Stone. “I’ve got a warehouse in Virginia, but I bring things in from Los Angeles. It just seems like it takes longer and longer to get things in.”
He said domestic manufacturers also were benefiting from buyer dissatisfaction with overseas companies. “People have now been burned with inconsistent product,” said Stone. “Now they’re a little more guarded about going with the cheapest deal in town.”