NEW! Wholesale fabric show, low minimums NY

[amended 1/31/12] Unfortunately, it has become necessary to close comments to this post (hopefully temporarily). Here is the cheat sheet for people who post questions  instead of reading the entry and comments that answer the questions people have asked:

There will be a special meet up for F-I members who will have an identifier on their badges. If you’re already a member (click on this link ->) please post here (<-click on that link) to let us know to expect you (see this to become a member). If you cannot login at the link above, you either aren’t a member or your membership has expired (please renew).  At the first link you will find meet up information and suggestions for accommodations, transportation etc. If you want more information on the show itself, go to the show’s website.  [end amend]

You’re hearing it here first, the first public announcement of a new wholesale fabric trade show designed specifically for independent designers who need to source low minimum fabrics, leathers, trims, guts etc. The show is so new that it doesn’t have a name, a website or way to register for it. Considering everything it took to organize and pay for it, those are very minor details. Trust me. For now, all you need to know is this:

Hotel Pennsylvania
New York City
February 6-7, 2012
Hours: 9:30 to 6:00

I strongly suggest posting a comment (even if it is lame) or these vendors might get the idea this is not such a good thing to do. More importantly, it is critical that this go viral -promote this show to all of your friends, colleagues and contacts because not sharing the details can kill a show like this faster than anything. If you don’t make an effort to tell -oh let’s just say ten other people- don’t be dismayed if this is the first and last year this show is held. If you don’t tell ten other people, I never want to hear you complain there aren’t any shows for small designers.

You should promote this show even if you don’t live in NY or plan to attend! If this show doesn’t succeed, the vendors will not be convinced to do it anywhere else. Meaning, if you want a show like this to open in a location more convenient to you, the best way to make it happen is to do what you can to make a show you’re not even going to, a rousing success. Make sense?

This is something we’ve been privy to in the forum so I can only post a partial vendor list from there although our henchman tells me more have signed on since he last updated the thread. Speaking of, you should let us know if you’re coming by clicking that link; F-I members get members only perks at the show (Jay is taking names). Here is a partial list of vendors, see the comment thread for still more:

Appliques with Glitz
Barbie International
Carr Textile
Dill Buttons of America
Elliott Berman Fabrics
Fabric Avenue
Fishman’s Fabrics
Global Leather
HWC/ Hamburger Woolen
Labels IG
Kendor Textiles
Novatex Int’l
One World Button
Philips Boyne
Products From Abroad
Robert Kaufman Company
Sextet Fabrics
Shannon Fabrics
Solid Stone Fabrics
Stylecrest Fabrics
W and W
Zinman Textiles

Our contact says:

I remember Kathleen writing something about fabric vendors not doing you a favor in selling you because the independent designer market is one that can be maneuvered profitably for a fabric resource. Fabric resources sell to DEs because they make money at it.

Like any business segment, there are ebbs and flows. DEs must be flowing because something pretty cool (and expensive to produce) is going to happen -a trade show. This show will feature quite a few fabric, button, zipper, label and many other types of vendors. These vendors almost all target independent designers so sampling and small production purchases will not just be “tolerated”, they will be encouraged. So far, over 30 vendors have put up some serious cash and the show is now a certainty.

The vendor list is pretty impressive. From my point of view, what is terribly exciting about this is that it is not a rep show. So far, everyone that has signed up is a vendor and not a sales rep. This show is happening because DEs are not just a viable segment. This show is happening because DEs are an important segment.

Obviously the meet up possibilities are endless. I lived in New York during all of the 1980’s and I am anxious to spend some time there. I would be more than willing to take F-I members to all of the cool places I hung out except I don’t remember any of them. When I lived in NYC I spent an extraordinary amount passed out or explaining why I would not provide markdown money to big department stores. It was not the scenic tour!!

Did I just print that last paragraph? Well, better you know what sort of people you’re likely to meet there. Speaking of, I might be one of them if I can work out the logistics of it (help?). And yes, there will be a special meet up just for F-I members who know the secret handshake. Just kidding, we’d be happy to charm you if you come. How else to better convince you that you need to join us? If you’re already a member, please post here to let us know to expect you and also, maybe some of the locals can help with hotels, transportation and all of that.

Stayed tuned for more updates. Till then tell your friends, lovers, enemies and frenemies.


  1. Dana says:

    Does anyone know if any of the exhibitors will have rayon/spandex jersey knits in prints? Debating whether it would be worth the trip from California. Or would it be better for me to go to the LA Intl Textile Show? Interested in your feedback.Report

  2. Jay Arbetman says:

    Dana, lots of rayon spandex in stripe, thermal, rib, velour and more but I am not sure about prints in Rayon/Spandex jersey. There are a couple of jobbers showing the typically have a nice selection of higher end prints (London Textile and Fabric Mart). You never know what Elliot Beerman and Stylecrest will show up with. The list on the show website is not complete. I will try and pass more info on when I have some specifics.

    Lorraine, go to and drop the promoter a note with your specific questions.

    Nicole, you are going to see an excellent assortment of products for the type of things that you are beginning to produce.

    I just got back from vacation so I have to catch up on things. Some really cool organic cotton sateen printed and solid came in as well as tons of linings and basic satin, taffeta, and other MOB, Bridal etc. type materials. Also covered will be care labels, woven labels, size tags and other “guts” as Mrs. F-I would say. More info to follow.Report

  3. Kathleen says:

    Dana, if you are in CA, there is no downside to attending that one that I can see. It will help you develop relationships there where you need them. By all means go to the NY show if you have the means but I wouldn’t want you to think it is your only option. See this entry for links to reviews written by F-I members of the LA fabric shows.Report

  4. Jay Arbetman says:

    Let me add something to Kathleen’s comment. After the NY show, there is certainly no reason that info about the show and various contact info cannot be shared. That’s what we are all doing here after all. Learning from each other and sharing our experiences. If it is at all possible, I will see to it that all the show literature is in Kathleen’s hands right after the show. I’m not discouraging you Dana, but I will see to it that F-I has the best info the fastest.

    On the other hand, if you go to the show, you will see quite a few lines that do not show in LA.

    It will be a winner either way.Report

  5. Laura Lewis says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! Would this be a good place to find printed nylon/spandex swimwear fabrics? (In small orders, less than 100 yards) Or does anyone have information on a better place to find these fabrics? I never seem to like the prints I find online available for wholesale orders. :/Report

  6. Kristen says:

    Hello All!

    I work for Symphony Fabrics which is one of the oldest names in the game :) I think this show is absolutely a great idea and we have been hearing more and more from our customers that smaller minimums are what is needed. At Symphony we have started a Over the Counter (OTC) program, which means smaller minimums on the basics. We are a New York company and trying to get this program off the ground.The quality of goods and service that has served Symphony since 1939 is something that you will find in this OTC Division.

    I have read through a lot of the comments and for those of you that are in far and distant lands, firstly I am jealous, but secondly we can ship to you :) any fabric need that you might have in smaller quanities is something that I want to help you with.

    We are looking to fulfill your needs and if you can not find what you are looking for via our website, I would love to speak with you about what you are looking for as many things are coming down the pipe for this OTC Division and I have great access to a sourcing network!

    Again ANYTHING you are looking for I would love to be a helping hand!

    I look forward to speaking with you all and good luck at the show for those going and participating!

    Kristen at OTC DivisionReport

  7. jay arbetman says:

    Jerry, the promoter of this show is so snowed under that an update isn’t likely in the immediate future. The response has been very good. Since this is a first time show and a first time promoter, things are running catch as catch can.

    My guess is that the show will be full of vendors (you will see 40 to 50 lines) and full of buyers. 10 of the lines that I represent will be there corporately. I’ll carry in a couple of others. I’ll have samples from some really cool “little guys” like Cloud 9 Fabrics and Sommers (makes upscale faux leather). Folks like Oriole, W and W and several others are not on the list yet.

    Kristen, if you need help getting signed up to exhibit at the show, let me know. I can get you space.

    I hope that many of you read the following. YOU (and of course Kathleen) are the reason that this show is coming into existence. Independent Designer/DE is a viable area of fashion expression. It is also populated enough that folks like me a

    Huge money goes into starting up a show. The person putting up this money isn’t stupid!! She threw huge money at the show so that she would get a return on investment. Since this is by no means a charity, exhibitors, seminars, attendees and mundane things like chairs, signing, lights, publicity and tables have to be delivered, paid for and managed. .

    Laura, at least two of the companies have some form of swimwear but unquestionably, this is a difficult category.

    I will be giving out Fashion Incubator ribbons so that we can all identify each other. Either that or us the secret hand shake.Report

  8. Valerie Hoh says:

    I have several questions.
    Very excited about coming if I can swing it.
    First, are there any hotels nearby that will give a group rate discount?
    Second, I am very interested in lightweight leather for clothing & handbags – will there be many leather companies?Report

  9. aparna says:

    I need some crepe wool fabrics and am having difficult sourcing good quality of the same. Will this show will be worthwhile for me to explore, as I live in Chicago. How do I go about getting information on it? Your help is much appreciated.Report

  10. Aparna, it is beyond anyone to know this. You can try to figure this out by looking at the exhibitor’s list. If it were me and I needed fabric of any kind, I’d go. Even if what I wanted wasn’t there, people can make referrals if you ask. There will also be other stuff at the show.

    Alternatively, you should call Jay, his name is a hyperlink just like yours. He’d know better than I would and, he’s from Chicago.Report

  11. Mary says:

    I am a small new designer in N. Texas. I too am having trouble getting wholesale fabric. They either are too high priced or they require a huge minimum. Are there hotels close to this event and does anyone know if they will be giving discount rates for this event. Also, how much will the admit fee be? ThanksReport

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