NEW YORK — The textile industry and manufacturing executives will embark on a critical journey here over the next three weeks at a series of major fabric and sourcing trade shows.
The fairs and the educational, networking and business opportunities they bring will help these companies and their decision-makers craft purchasing and sourcing strategies that will go a long way toward determining the profitability and success of their companies over the next six months and beyond.
Companies will be relying on these experts to figure out vital complexities such as whether cotton, polyester, wool or Tencel, or the perfect blend, would be the right choice of fabric for their lines, or whether it’s the right time to bring some production back to the U.S. or Western Hemisphere or diversify Asian manufacturing plans as China’s labor prices rise.
Kicking off the exhibition whirlwind on Wednesday is Première Vision Preview New York at the Metropolitan Pavilion & Altman Building on West 18th Street. The two-day show features fabric and trend presentations for the fall-winter 2013-14 season. Now in its 25th edition, organizers said the show’s mission continues to be to connect and strengthen ties between top international textile mills, with a concentration of European resources and North American buyers.
In all, 113 companies from 16 countries are taking part in PV Preview, an 11 percent increase over the July 2011 edition. There are 32 companies either exhibiting for the first time or returning after several seasons. Italian weavers are the largest contingent, followed by companies from Turkey and France.
Fabric collections for upscale women’s wear represent 40 percent of the offer. Men’s wear products for suits and shirtings, strengthened over the past two seasons, include some 20 recognizable exhibitors. About 25 percent of the lines represent casual sportswear products, with the balance of the booths occupied by companies that make special or technical products, and trim suppliers.
For the second time, the New York show will shine a spotlight on young design talent. For two days, Ragne Kikas, winner of the Première Vision Prize at the Hyères International Festival of Fashion & Photography, will be presenting her work. The show will also be displaying other prize-winning designs from the competition, this year presided over by jury president Yohji Yamamoto.
“The last PV Preview in January was successful for Solstiss and Denis & Fils,” said Sandrine Benard, executive vice president at Solstiss USA. “Thanks to the show, we built or rebuilt good business relationships with existing clients or new designers from the North and South American markets. PV New York also allows us to test new developments and…[weigh] the interests of our clients.”
On Monday, Spin Expo takes over the same venue for three days, featuring yarn mills from around the world.
Karine Van Tassel, founder and organizer of the fair, said, “A weaker euro can be advantageous to European spinners…who once again can integrate innovation into their collections.”
This season witnesses a new development in the contrast between European yarn suppliers and the top-level offerings from China, Van Tassel said.
“The major Chinese groups, many of them now owners of European yarn firms, have taken a step in a new direction as most of them have now completed the transition to state-of-the-art factories…equipped with a selection of the best textile machinery in the world, all backed up by a staff of in-house European technicians,” she said.
Van Tassel said innovation in Chinese products has become “exceptional,” citing a new product line from exhibitor Top Line/Consinee, a mohair yarn with a mixture of silk and cashmere for its core instead of the more standard nylon cord found in many such European yarns.
Spin Expo will host three seminars: ESP Trend Lab will discuss trend direction, Gostwyck farm and Novetex will explain their involvement in wool eco products and Santoni will unveil the advantages of its new software in knitwear manufacturing.
The largest of the shows is Texworld USA, which will feature fabrics and materials from more than 320 exhibitors, and the adjacent International Apparel Sourcing Show, which, along with Home Textiles Sourcing Expo, form an expansive presentation at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center from July 24 to 26. In July 2011, the three co-located events drew 563 exhibitors and more than 5,000 attendees.
The Apparel Sourcing Show focuses on the production supply chain for contract manufacturing, private label and full-package manufacturing and will include a new Mauritius Pavilion with six exhibitors showing embroidery trends from the duty-free island nation. It will also include first-time exhibitors from Canada, the Philippines and Taiwan, and more companies from Hong Kong, China and the U.S.
Texworld USA will be highlighted by an expanded seminar series from sponsor Lenzing Innovation and, for the first time, a companion series from show producer Messe Frankfurt.
Whitney West, marketing manager for Messe Frankfurt, said, “We’re shooting for 6,000 [attendees] between the three shows, which would be a slight increase over last July’s edition. I think the word is getting out about the seminar program.”
West noted that the seminars feature a mix of some similar topics presented in the past for those attending for the first time, and a fresh array of issues for those who regularly attend the biannual event.
“We have gotten a lot of requests from new people wanting to know how they can become part of it,” said West, noting that the American Apparel & Footwear Association is a first-time participant.
The Lenzing seminar series begins on July 24 at 11 a.m., with “Textile Innovations — Bleaching: Best Practice and the Environment” discussing more sustainable options for bleaching fabrics. Speakers are Andreas Dorner, Lenzing’s director of marketing; Ramon Rios Quintana, sales director at Santanderina, and D. Craig White, Americas head of brand and retail marketing for apparel in the Textile Effects Division of Huntsman International. This is followed at 12:30 p.m. by “The Fabric of a New Economy,” with Kate Lewis, deputy program manager at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, explaining the USDA’s BioPreferred program, which promotes the increased purchase and use of bio-based products through a government procurement program and a consumer label. Lenzing’s Tencel lyocell fiber made from eucalyptus and DuPont’s bio-based Sorona polymer are two examples of the types of products approved for the program.
Next up at 2 p.m. is “Sourcing Hot Spots,” with panelists Gail W. Strickler, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative; Rick Helfenbein, president of Luen Thai USA, and Christopher Han, textile representative for KOTRA, South Korea’s trade and investment promotion agency. The panel will discuss where the hot spots are for apparel and textile sourcing in a fast-changing global environment. It will look at U.S. free-trade agreements and preference programs and the opportunities for American manufacturers and importers, the shifting landscape in Asia and the potential for manufacturing in Haiti. It will also examine the new landscape for brands offered by the South Korean Free Trade Agreement.
Rounding out the day at 4 p.m. will be “ECO: Certifications,” where the audience will learn from experts from Global Organic Textile Standard, Textile Exchange and the USDA about processes to certify environmentally friendly products, from bio-based products to organics. Additional seminars the following two days will focus on color trends, sustainability and the right steps to start a company.
The Messe Frankfurt seminar program kicks off on opening day at 10:30 a.m. with “The Southeast Asian Advantage: New Sourcing Opportunities in Southeast Asia.” Speakers Tanjila Islam, chief executive officer of TigerTrade, and Bui Trong Nguyen, secretary general of AGTEK in Vietnam, will give a strategic overview of the landscape of sourcing for apparel, textiles and footwear in the region. On July 25, the AAFA will conduct a panel on “Stopping Conflict Minerals,” at 9 a.m., while Cotton Incorporated stages “Cotton: Inspiration for Fabric Developments” at 3:30 p.m.
Tricia Carey, USA merchandising manager for the Textile Fibers unit of Lenzing Fibers Inc., said the pavilion will be the largest to date with 41 exhibitors that use some or all of Lenzing’s cellulosic fibers in their yarn and fabric manufacturing.
“The Lenzing Pavilion has evolved to represent the diversified sourcing portfolio retailers and brands are developing,” Carey said. “We have 10 exhibitors from the U.S., spanning the complete supply chain from spinner to knitter to full package garments. As retailers and brands seek a diversified sourcing portfolio with a quick response, many well-known U.S. mills, companies and industries continue to produce innovative textile materials sourced closer to market. Their products are targeted at the North American market to meet the growing demand for textiles and apparel.”
The 10 U.S. exhibitors in the pavilion are Fessler USA, Buhler Quality Yarns, Laguna Fabrics, Design Knit Inc., Texolinni Inc., Ecotex, Mansfield, SG Knits Inc./United Pacific Group, JH Textiles and Tuscarora Yarns Inc. Joining them will be mills from China, India, Italy, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan and Turkey. All the companies use some or all of Lenzing’s cellulosic fibers in their yarn, fabric or apparel manufacturing.
Lenzing will be featuring its MicroModal line, made from beech trees at its integrated facility in Lenzing, Austria, along with its Tencel, Modal and viscose offerings.
Brian Meck, president of Fessler USA, said, “Our customers are starting to look for innovation again. It seems like everybody digressed from new fabrics and new ideas and kind of went back to their core business and keeping their core fabrics and styles running over the last couple of years. Now we’re doing a lot of fabric development in response to our customers’ requests for new fabrics and yarns and new constructions and finishes. So I’m looking forward to the show to get out there and see what kind of interest and feedback we’ll get on all the new product development we’ve been doing.”
Meck said blends are important, as are fresh takes on patterns and textures. He said Fessler has been working with its yarn suppliers on blends of cotton and linen; rayon and linen; polyester, rayon and cotton, and cotton and silk that it’s never done before.
“We’re also doing some very fine gauge merino wool fabrics, which is also something new for us,” he said. “The cotton price drop has allowed us to be more competitive on some of the cotton yarns and cotton blends, but it’s also dictated by what our customers want. Our production had kind of shifted away from cotton naturally because prices went up and it does seem we’re dropping some of the synthetics as a percentage of our business and cotton is building back up as a more meaningful percentage of it. Also, MicroModal is popular because the pricing is competitive and you can blend it with almost anything, and it gives it a really soft hand and a good drape, and a feeling of luxuriousness.”
Texworld will also include a new Turkey Pavilion sponsored by UTIB with 13 companies showing a wide range of fabrics. A Trend Forum created by Paris fashion designers 2G2L will highlight innovative materials for the season. Areas dedicated to suppliers from Japan, Taiwan and Pakistan will also be showcased.
Heralded as its biggest market ever, Kingpins New York begins its two-day run at Center 548 in New York on July 24.
It will be held concurrently with The Continuum Show, the exhibition focused on sustainable apparel sourcing that made its debut in January at Kingpins New York. The first Continuum was structured as a partnership between Olah Inc., Kingpins’ owner, and Continuum Textiles. While that partnership has been terminated, Continuum will go on as part of Kingpins and the show’s producers are promising a shift in the focus for 2013. Anne Gillespie, coproducer of the initial Continuum show, retains her positions as a partner in Continuum Textiles and as director of industry integrity at Textile Exchange.
As if to refute any suggestion of a step away from sustainability as a prevalent theme, the subject will be integral to all three seminars being held in conjunction with the markets.
Paul Cowell, innovation and branding manager of Singapore’s Bluconnection, will discuss “Dyeing in the Denim Mill of the Future” at a session to be held at 11 a.m. on July 24 as part of Kingpins. Among the issues to be discussed will be the ecological and economic challenges as jeans manufacturing progresses from cotton farming through production and finishing.
At 3 p.m., Kingpins will sponsor “A Case Study in Sustainable Laundering,” a presentation by Sanjeev Bahl, principal of Saitex International, which produces 20,000 jeans a day in a Vietnam complex built around exacting standards for minimal energy use, waste and environmental degradation. At 10 a.m. on July 25, there will be a panel discussion addressing the question: “What Is Sustainable Cotton?” Among the participants will be representatives from Bayer Fibermax Cotton, Stoneville Cotton, Textile Exchange and Cotton Inc.
AT A GLANCE
Here’s the lineup for this month’s textile shows in New York:
• Première Vision Preview New York, Wednesday and Thursday, Metropolitan Pavilion & Altman Building, 125-135 West 18th Street.
• Spin Expo, July 16 to 18, Metropolitan Pavilion & Altman Building, 125-135 West 18th Street.
• Kingpins New York, July 24 to 25, Center 548, 548 West 22nd Street.
• Texworld USA and the International Apparel Sourcing Show, July 24 to 26, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, 655 West 34th Street.