Today I have trip reports and fabric show reviews covering the spate of recent NY fabric shows from Katy and Bethany. For those who always ask if these are worth attending, I hope this will enlighten you. Thanks Katy and Bethany!
I attended Printsource and Direction in NYC January 15-17. Both shows are accessible through the lobby of the Pennsylvania Hotel across from Madison Square Gardens. I had originally traveled to New York to attend Printsource and happened upon Direction.
Printsource is offered 3 times a year. Their website has a database of designers searchable by category. The show has a nice program with a diagram listing each vendor and the vendor’s contact information. Also, the staff were all extremely nice and helpful. The vendors included textile designers, vintage textile sellers, and a few color forecasting service and a bookseller. To attend the conference was free, as long as you’re in the industry. They also offered the Future Cafe for $75 in advance, $100 at the door. The Future Cafe had 5 or 6 presentations from various forecasting services. These were only offered the first two days of the show. They shared brief insights of forecasts for Spring/Summer 2009 for women’s and interiors as well as one for men and one for children. I think if you are in the area and can’t generally afford trend forecasts, the $75 is more than worth the price for one of the presentations.
While I was there, they were pushing their new show, Koncept that will occur simultaneously with Printsource in March.
I visited Direction only briefly. Direction is also free to trade people only. I was able to easily register on-site. Interesting to me, many of the vendors did not overlap so it is important to visit both shows. Direction also seemed to have more forecasting and color planning vendors, which is my niche. They too offered a nice program with a diagram listing each vendor and the vendor’s contact information. I did not attend any of the Direction seminars, but theirs lasted all three days and were a bit more expensive. Those cost $125 in advance and $175 at the door.
Well, I am back from the New York fabric shows and let me tell you, it was a disappointment. I waited for a few days to write this because I was hoping time would stem my irritation, but it turns out I am just as annoyed today as I was on the plane flying home.
What is my problem? My problem, kind readers, is I can’t freaking make minimums of 500 or 1,000 meters. I am only buying 100-175 meters/yard maximum at this time which means very few fabric reps will deal with me- which is why I spent all that money flying to NYC- so I could potentially find new resources of fabric. Well let me tell you, if you are a small business and can’t make minimums, don’t bother to come to New York for either TexWorld or Premiere Vision– total waste of time and money.
I started at Tex World: a fabric show specializing in the Asian trade: China, Japan, Korea, etc. I was seriously there for maybe an hour. They had beautiful fabric, but were not willing to deal with small customers. The other problem I had was each booth only had small amounts of headers to look through. It was really weird to me: I am used to booths having a ton of headers that you flip through and pull out the ones you like. At TW, I couldn’t figure out what the deal was. There just didn’t seem to be that many headers.
Now, with that said, I have to remind you that I specialize in boy’s clothing, and TW doesn’t. They specialize in Men and Women’s contemporary fabric. And they had some nice stuff. But because it wasn’t my market, I didn’t spend much time there. I ended up going to check out Mood fabrics- the fabric store they always go to on Project Runway. Figured it would be fun to see it in real life.
The second day I went to Premiere and did MUCH better. It turns out I happen to love Turkish fabric! Who knew Turkey was putting out such great stuff! And they, more than any other country, seemed to be willing to work with my small amount of fabric. Of course I had to make deals like adding a certain percentage of the amount to the final price because the yardage was small, or I would offer to pay a few bucks more per meter, but I could still get really amazing prints for around 5 dollars. They said they were even willing to change colors for the prints and put it on any fabric they carried, which was awesome. We will see in a few weeks if they were for real when I start to get the headers I ordered. (As an aside, I wrote this last week and I have already received one set of headers!)
To be totally honest I didn’t really look at any French fabrics. I haven’t had good luck with the French, they have never been willing to work with my minimums and their fabric is pretty expensive. But if I designed women’s contemporary or men’s suits, I would totally have loved this show. They had really amazing fabrics and some top of the line companies.
The weird think about Premiere was, they didn’t have their whole Spring 2009 collections available, because their big show is in Paris in February, and the fabrics weren’t ready yet. I know A LOT of women’s contemporary buyers who go there and do all of their fabric sourcing. But for little ol’ me, Paris is out of the question.
So needless to say, I won’t be going back to the shows in July. Rumor has it that the textile show in LA might have a new Turkish section this year. I think that would be awesome. So awesome I am going to contact the TALA office and suggest they have both a Turkish section and an Indian section because it seems as if those are the two countries who are willing to work with DEs, and Indian fabric companies were pretty much non existent in NYC.
So, if you are designing women or men’s contemporary, I would say the two shows in NYC might be worth a trip. But if your minimums are small like mine, or you need less sophisticated fabrics, then skip it and head out to the TALA fabric show in Los Angeles. The site is down as of this writing but they assure me it’ll be up again soon.