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Is there a place for fashion in a world of strife and worry? This was the question posed by David Wolfe, Creative Director, The Doneger Group during his presentation at Designer Summit Seminar Series held in conjunction with the International Fashion Fabric Exhibition held last week in New York City. His answer was a resounding yes. “The purpose of fashion is to offer some escapism and relief from the world,” said Wolfe. The rallying call was to make fashion fun again. This was evident in the array of fabric and trim choices showcased by the 400 show exhibitors, coupled with the traffic of leading designers, garment makers, retailers, and buyers at the show, everyone was doing their part to re-energize fashion.

The International Fashion Fabric Exhibition attracts the who’s who of the fashion world and this year was no exception. Top executives from such prestigious brands as Anna Sui, Banana Republic, Lucy Barnes, Eileen Fisher, Liz Claiborne, Natori, Oscar de la Renta, Polo Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger, to name just a few, were in attendance.

The International Fashion Fabric Exhibition’s appeal stems from its wide variety of directional fabric, trim and leather exhibitor base. Designers and manufacturers fill the aisles searching for newness to keep them ahead of the fashion curve.

’50s retro-inspired motifs, island-themed prints, bright stripes and geometrics were prevalent throughout the show floor. Alexander Henry Fabrics of Burbank, CA generated a lot of

excitement with its range of vibrant prints in Pucci-inspired motifs and wavy stripes. Robert Kaufman Co., based in Los Angeles, CA offered a cheerful array of florals and vacation-ready prints. Ascher Studio Inc. of New York City, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, offered oversized polka dots both in pastels and in brights, as well as exuberantly colored, large-scale stripes and geometrics.

Leather, Suede, Skins, Inc, a leading leather supplier in New York City, featured innovative leathers and suedes. They showed stretch leather and suede, as well as on-trend multi-colored leather. Also noteworthy were the double-sided, leather on one side, print on the other, reversible leather and suede.

Savyon, a circular knitting mill from Brazil showcased its wide range of distinctive knits, jacquards and its knitted denim made of Indifio®, a dyed cotton yarn designed especially for knitting and which has all the fading characteristics of blue jeans. Savyon also featured mesh—a key fabrication for spring/summer 04—but their twist on the trend was to perforate it as if holes had been worn through by wear and tear.

The new Turkish Fabrics and Trims Pavilion, Turquality, featured twenty-seven exhibitors that presented a wide range of fashion fabrics, leather, trims and accessories. Turkey is among the top five manufacturers and exporters of textiles in the world and with its competitive prices and production capabilities, makes it attractive to apparel manufacturers.

Japan Creation, a promotion group showcasing the creativity and quality of Japanese textiles, did not disappoint. Unique pleating and burn-out effects applied to sheers as well as more traditional stripe patterns were equally popular among buyers.

Another Japanese exhibitor and newcomer to the show, S. Sakakura & Co., Ltd makers of wool, silk, synthetic, and cotton fabrics showed texturally interesting, needle punched fabrics in a range of fashion-forward bright colors which could be used in apparel, such as trendy ponchos or for the home as wall hangings and throws.

In fact, one of the trends evidenced at the show was crossover effects between fashion and home fabrics. Fabricut, a leading distributor of highly decorative fabrics and trimmings from

Tulsa, OK, not only took the usual orders from table linens manufacturers, but also from hat, handbag and clothing designers. Their silk-looking synthetics transition well for evening wear as do their tapestries for novelty items such as vests.

“Home furnishings used to be a season or two behind fashion, now they are parallel stories,” said, Catherine Stein, President of the Color Council, a trend and forecasting service for the home furnishings industry. “It only makes sense to widen distribution.” What caught Stein’s eye at the show was a turtleneck made of leather that was uncharacteristically supple and draped so well, that she felt it could directly translate to window treatments and tablecloths.

The International Fashion Fabric Exhibition’s resources have also proven to be perfect for designers and product development managers who are interested in mixing innovative technology with style. The most dazzling example at this show was Crystal Fabric from Swarovski, the world’s leading faceted-crystal manufacturer from Austria. Crystal Frabric is a transparent hotfix foil covered in tiny round and faceted crystals. The material, which is extremely lightweight, can be ironed, sewn or glued to such fabrics as lace, velvet, silk denim, leather and synthetic fabrics. Moreover, Crystal Fabric preserves the softness and color of the materials it adheres to. Vivienne Westwood, one of the UK’s foremost creative talents in fashion, who recently created a stunning crystal-encrusted jacket, said of this exciting innovation: “Crystal Fabric is sensuous and exciting like no other material, offering new and unprecedented creative possibilities.” Westwood’s eye-catching design was on display at the Swarovski booth and, as expected, was a crowd-pleaser.

The International Fashion Fabric Exhibition’s next show will take place October 14 through October 16, 2003 at The Jacob Javits Convention Center.

For information on exhibiting or attending the International Fashion Fabric Exhibition, please call 917.326.6237 or visit us online at www.fabricshow.com

The International Fashion Fabric Exhibition is produced by Advanstar Communications, Inc., a worldwide business information company serving specialized markets with high quality information resources and integrated marketing solutions. Advanstar has 105 business magazines and directories, 80 tradeshows and conferences, numerous Web sites, and a wide

range of direct marketing, database and reference products and services. Advanstar serves targeted market sectors in such industries as art, automotive, beauty, collaboration/e-learning, CRM/call center, digital media, entertainment/marketing, fashion & apparel, healthcare, manufacturing and processing, pharmaceutical, powersports, science, telecommunications and travel/hospitality. The Company has nearly 1,300 employees and currently operates from multiple offices in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.advanstar.com.

The International Fashion Fabric Exhibition is also an affiliate of MAGIC International, which is a subsidiary of Advanstar Communications. MAGIC International is the world’s largest and most widely recognized organizer of trade shows for the apparel industry. MAGIC International produces the MAGIC Marketplace in Las Vegas featuring MAGIC, WWDMAGIC, MAGIC kids and the edge. For more information on MAGIC International, visit www.magiconline.com.

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