I have a confession to make: Sourcing is really, technically, the only section at MAGIC that I visited. Of course, I had to make the trek through streetwear to get to it. Having said that, it seems like a lot of the companies at sourcing knew the deal and were geared towards streetwear, lots of jeans, caps, outerwear and such.
I may have mentioned before that the International Fashion Fabric Exhibition has somehow ended up as part of Sourcing at Magic. I was sorely disappointed to find out (not that I had ever attended the show). I kinda sorta expected to find at least some domestic and European fabric sources at Sourcing (I know, silly me) but no. Maybe a few domestic companies, or should I say foreign companies with a strong domestic presence, but primarily Asian textile companies.
Pretty soon, us West Coasters are going to have to go to NY (or Europe, depending on what you make) for textile shows, since Los Angeles Textile seems to be losing some steam.
On the bright side of things, there was a small bit of Printsource at the show, with a few textile design studios showing at Sourcing. There are tons of us who want to create lines around our own prints, some have artwork, some need to purchase it. The issue, domestically, is converting. I have yet to find an affordable converter who will print hundreds of yards as opposed to thousands. But I have found some small workshops overseas who print small quantity. I’ll let you know how it works out, still working out the fabric issue.
On F-I, we talk a lot about domestic manufacturing, or manufacturing in the Americas, versus overseas. One of the things that always fascinates me about these shows is that the foreign countries with substantial garment production usually have trade organizations to promote the industry, whereas we really don’t. Yes, we have fractured organizations here and there, but no strong presence at any of the shows. There was a “made in America” section of the show, with some exhibitors, but nothing that really showed the range of what you can produce in the USA. While MAGIC is an expensive show for an exhibitor, I wonder what the domestic industry is missing out on, by not presenting the concept that we do have a strong, and diverse, domestic manufacturing base.
We tend to underestimate the number of people starting out who go to MAGIC because they know it’s the biggest show. I met a lot of people at the show who were starting out with a line (not all clothing, but all sewn products or accessories) who were at MAGIC wading through the Asian booths looking for a contract manufacturer, because they know of no domestic resource to find one. I know we have SEAMS (and others), but many small contractors aren’t part of organizations with “high” membership fees. Plus it seems as though our government (at least in California) is more interested in passing legislation that hurts our domestic apparel manufacturing business rather than helping it.
As I write this, I don’t know what the solution is. There are a lot of companies that really do start out at MAGIC as their first, and primary resource. A lot of companies manufacture overseas because they think that there aren’t many other options.