LOS ANGELES — Vendors exhibiting at the new Prelude textile show said apparel manufacturers were on the lookout for ethnic-inspired clothing and so-called luxury minimalism for their fall 2006 collections.
Globalization was the theme of the show, which made its inaugural run at the California Market Center here Aug. 8-9 and brought companies that produce private label apparel and their own collections together with vendors that design textiles and forecast trends.
Popular prints drew influences from Africa, Japan, South America and Russia.
Patricia Brandt, who organized the event with her son, Chris, acknowledged that traffic was slow because the event was sandwiched between the Los Angeles and New York markets. However, she said she was encouraged by the turnout and plans another show in January.
The participation of representatives from companies such as Pacific Sunwear of California, Lunada Bay Corp., Karen Kane Inc. and VF Corp.’s The North Face and JanSport divisions made the show worthwhile for some of the 70 exhibiting lines.
Garreau Designs, a print design studio in Laguna Beach, Calif., said buyers responded well to Japanese prints of oversized chrysanthemums and carp, as well as brown-hued drawings of African beads and shells. Black-and-white designs resembling film negatives were also well received, said owner Diana Garreau.
Brandt, who ran a booth for the Los Angeles marketing company bearing her name, said skirts would continue to dominate fashion in fall 2006. Brandt based her prediction on buyers placing orders for enormous paisleys and flowers that were subtly enhanced with glitter or beading and could be used as repeat patterns on circle skirts.
Jan Rosen, owner of Los Angeles-based XCompany, purchased 20 pieces of artwork evoking Africa, Indonesia and India.
“Everything is international these days,” Rosen said.
Concerns regarding quota safeguards for China affected Rosen’s and other manufacturers’ schedules and business decisions.
In the case of XCompany, all production is offshore, Rosen said. The company, with $40 million in annual volume, manufactures garments for private label clients such as Kellwood Co. and Hot Kiss Inc. in factories in China, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and India. Because he already uses factories in South and Southeast Asia, Rosen said he can work around the U.S. safeguard quotas involving China. However, Rosen pointed out that transporting China-made fabric to a factory in Sri Lanka, for example, will add about 30 days to his schedule. As a result, customers agreed to pay more to send goods from India and Sri Lanka to the U.S. by air freight.
The U.S. said last week it will seek a long-term agreement with China on textile and apparel imports that is likely to raise — but not eliminate — restrictions. Textile and apparel quotas were dropped among all World Trade Organization countries on Jan. 1, but China remained subject to safeguard quotas as a condition of entering the WTO. The U.S. has implemented safeguards based on a threat to the domestic market from surging Chinese imports, capping a range of product categories at an annual volume increase of 7.5 percent.
Quotas are also a concern for Roxanne Bunda, owner of Glendale, Calif.-based M&R Design Studio, which produces the contemporary Bunda & Dowd line. With sales of about $800,000, Bunda said when her orders arrive from China, the firm’s shipments are often the last off the boat because priority at the port is given to larger-volume importers.
Bunda said this has caused her to transform Bunda & Dowd into a better-priced label and shift production to the U.S. She said her strategy to raise prices by as much as 25 percent would be vindicated by the fall 2006 trend for minimalist luxury, as exemplified by the use of velvet and jacquard.
Also symbolizing luxury were 19th-century lace and embroidery shown at What Comes Around Goes Around’s booth. Textile specialist Dayna Johnson said Victorian aesthetics and tea-stained old-world flowers would prevail in fall 2006. Famous for its New York vintage store of the same name, the company began collecting fabric swatches in 2004 to sell to designers for $150 to $350 apiece.