Economic Uncertainty Rings Loud at 11th Annual Texworld USA

NEW YORK—The uncertainty of the U.S. economy was a common theme at the 11th edition of the fabric sourcing trade show Texworld USA Jan. 23–25 at New York’s Javits Center, taking place just three days after the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

“Nobody knows what’s going to happen,” said Texworld USA Marketing Manager Teodora Nicolae. “People are asking questions and talking to each other. It’s important to us to provide that platform.”

And that platform is growing quickly. Texworld USA hosted 226 exhibitors from 16 countries this January—a 6 percent increase over last year. The show also had largest turnout for any January edition with a 20 percent increase in attendance. Attendees came from 54 countries around the world.

One exhibitor participating in the conversation was Vernon, Calif.–based Laguna Fabrics.

“Trump has said a lot, and it’s hard to decipher what is true and what is talk,” said Laguna Fabrics sales manager Matin Roshan. “Trump might force a lot of business to [the United States]—but at the same time, we do have relationships with foreign yarn suppliers. “We’re hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.”

Los Angeles–based Fabric Selection, which does a large amount of business in Mexico, has already seen the tides turn.

“When [Trump] was first elected, some of our Mexican customers stopped all their orders,” said Fabric Selection General Manager Sean Zarini. “Over time, they came back and business started picking back up.”

Texworld USA organizers want the trade show to be a one-stop shop where designers and fabric buyers can quickly and efficiently source the market—and stay abreast of the key issues and new developments in the industry.

“It’s no secret that consumer buying patterns are changing quickly and that the customer is looking for more value than ever when purchasing apparel,” said Texworld USA Show Director of Fashion and Apparel Jennifer Bacon.

Texworld USA’s educational offering this year included 11 seminars and nine floor sessions where attendees could discuss industry needs and trends.

One trend that continues to be important for consumers is sustainability, said Alexis Stuart, showroom director for World Texting Sourcing (WTS), who this year partnered with Lenzing on a Tencel-based circular-knit collection, Inca Indigo, produced in Peru.

“Brands are caring about how a product is sourced and made,” Stuart said. “But [they still want] high-end. We’re not losing design for sustainability.”

Buhler Quality Yarns Corp. textile engineer Victor Almeida said interest in sustainable solutions remains high, but there’s a premium to be paid for it.

“A lot of people are asking for organic, but it’s a question of how much are they willing to pay for it,” said Almeida, who has been attending Texworld USA for 11 years.

“Apparel is one of the only industries that has had deflation,” Almedia observed. “You can buy something cheaper now than you could 20 years ago.”

The next edition of Texworld USA and Apparel Sourcing USA will take place July 17–19 at the Javits Center.