The politics of production will be front and center at the upcoming fabric and sourcing shows in New York.

Complex issues are weighing heavily on textile and sourcing executives as they prepare to attend the major New York trade shows Première Vision New York and the co-located Texworld USA and Apparel Sourcing USA.

This story first appeared in the January 11, 2017 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

From the political impact of global trade and sourcing decisions to uncertain economic conditions around the world, the networking opportunities and information provided by the exhibitions comes at a crucial time.

“See-now-buy-now is rethinking the industry’s model and changing sourcing strategies,” said Guglielmo Olearo, exhibitions director for Première Vision International. “I really hope creativity remains in the forefront. I remain an optimist despite the geopolitical environment remaining extremely unstable.”

With sustainability and innovation so vital today, Olearo said a seminar titled “Smart Materials” has been developed for the show’s first day — Première Vision New York is set for Pier 94 on Jan. 17 and 18. It will focus on better-researched sourcing and feature Kate Black, founder of EcoSessions and Magnifeco; Sara Kozlowski, director of education and professional development at the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and Claudia Richardson, materials Innovation Manager at Patagonia.

PV’s partnership with CFDA also includes a brand ambassador program, with women’s wear designer Nellie Partow selected for this edition, as well as a curated tour of Première Vision for CFDA members and support for the Fashion Manufacturing Initiative.

The shows come as a potential trade war looms between the U.S. and China, and the momentum for Made in America has been boosted by multimillion-dollar investments in new textile plants and protectionist pronouncements by President-elect Donald Trump.

At Texworld and Apparel Sourcing, running Jan. 23 to 25 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, those issues will be spotlighted with seminars, talks and special pavilions.

The January edition of Texworld USA — its largest to date — has 220 international exhibitors from 11 countries, including the U.S., Hong Kong, Pakistan, Turkey, Japan, Canada, Colombia and India, said Teodora Nicolae, marketing manager for the shows.

While Trump has threatened China with stiff tariffs for what he says is an unfair trade relationship, the country will be well-represented on the show floor, with established mills from different regions.

Turkey and Taiwan will return with pavilions showcasing exhibitors that specialize in high-end cotton, knits, functional fabrics and lace, Nicolae noted. A South Korean pavilion will make its January debut with a focus on exhibitors known for high-quality knits.

This edition’s Lenzing Innovation pavilion has 17 exhibitors from the U.S., China, Taiwan and South Korea.

Tricia Carey, director of business development at Lenzing Fibers, said the pavilion will highlight “Lenzing Micro Modal and Softness,” with a demonstration of a softness measurement machine produced by Emtec.

“Brands want to talk about attributes, and now we are quantifying them with numbers,” she said. “We will also feature Carved in Blue, the Lenzing denim platform, with new capsules called Den/IM, Future Black and Inca Indigo.”

The popular Lenzing Seminar Series features panel discussions of major issues impacting the fashion world.

Nicolae said the seminar with the most pre-show interest is “Instant Fashion: The Impact of In-Season, Buy-Now-Wear-Now.” Set for day two, it has Kai Chow, director of The Doneger Group; Metawear founder and chief executive officer Marci Zaroff; David Sasso, vice president of sales at Buhler Quality Yarns Corp., and Tara St. James, production coordinator and research fellow at Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator, delving into the phenomena and how it’s impacting the textile and sourcing supply chain.

The many issues at play in this topic include speed-to-market; sourcing and fabric choices, and product innovation.

Sasso said, “The business environment is challenging and forcing the industry to relook at the way business is done throughout the supply chain.”

He added speed and price are key issues, especially in American manufacturing, and that it comes down to “the value of time.”

“If you can put product on the shelf faster and respond to what the consumer wants, you tend to sell that product at first price,” Sasso said. “If lead times are shortened, it has a value. We’re talking more to people about that: speed to market as a value and a calculable solution.”

Sandrine Bernard, executive vice president of Solstiss USA, which shows at PVNY, said, “Many clients are saying business is difficult and there are concerns about the impact from instant fashion. There’s a changing dynamic in the industry.”

Bernard and Sasso both said companies are placing more orders closer to need and expect delivery sooner.

“You have to be more reactive,” Bernard said. “Business is tough and we have to try to work with companies we hadn’t worked with before.”

Several other seminar topics focus on important fabric and fiber trends. “Creating a Preferred Fiber and Material Strategy” features Jeff Wilson, director of business value strategy and development at Textile Exchange; Daren Abney, membership engagement manager at the Better Cotton Initiative; Robert Bergmann, founder of Responsibility in Fashion, and Andreas Dorner, commercial director of Europe and America at Lenzing AG, discussing what’s next in sustainability.

New to Texworld will be “Textile Talks.” To be held on the show floor, they are meant to be casual discussions led by industry experts in the field of fibers and fabrics.

As for key issues, Carey said, “Made in America and made in this hemisphere is stronger than ever. We continue to see quick response and instant fashion right here. Sustainability is driving brand and retailer decisions. New tools like the Higg Index allow for better benchmarking. For Lenzing, sustainability is at the core, from raw materials to fiber processing.”

The Higg Index is the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s suite of self-assessment tools that allow brands, retailers and facilities to measure their environmental, social and labor impacts along the supply chain and identify areas for improvement.

In addition, Texworld USA will spotlight a “Theme of the Season” — functional fabrics and apparel, in a new dedicated area. The Spotlight display area will highlight some of the best functional fabrics from exhibitors at the show, as well as activewear and performance apparel from Apparel Sourcing USA exhibitors.

Also new is what Nicolae called “Performance Pitches,” where exhibitors will have five minutes to present an innovative product, new fabric or manufacturing capability.

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