Japan Blue x KiriLeigh Jones

Japan Blue x KiriLeigh Jones


LA Textile Offers an Experiential Show to Generate Buyer Interest


Zen Textiles

This season, the LA Textile show blended experiences with business to make the event more than a showcase for materials and manufacturing.

The California Market Center, which organized the March 6–8 show, held in the CMC building, attracted brands and designers through a showcase of Spring/Summer 2020 textile offerings, educational seminars and experiential amenities.

In addition to the Sustainable Fashion Forum, held March 7, the show hosted seminars covering topics that included domestic organic-textile regulations and emerging trends that will influence fashion for Spring/Summer 2020.

Christine Daal, an exhibitor and founder of Fashion Angel Warrior, was at the show to help guide designers to launch their brands. She spoke at a seminar called “Top 14 Mistakes Startup Designers Make & How to Avoid Them.”

“The show is super helpful because it saves a lot of time. If you were to make appointments with each of these vendors individually it would take you weeks, but you can get it done in a three-day show,” she explained. “Plus, all the seminars are amazing to get an education, to get information, to know what is happening and on the forefront of fashion.”

While everyone wanted to talk business, there were several amenities, such as a FabFad selfie station, lunch for online-registered attendees, an On the Rocks happy hour and complimentary Uber rides to and from the show.

A Neihulé Salon x Alexander Henrymanicure station provided vegan and cruelty-free nail wraps with designs created by Los Angeles’ Alexander Henry Fabrics, printed by cosmetics company NCLA Beauty and applied onsite by Neihulé Salon technicians. In a different area of the show, attendees were able to watch artist KiriLeigh Jones create a mandala and floral-inspired painting using raw selvage from premium-denim brand Japan Blue Co. Ltd. as her canvas.

“This is going back with them [Japan Blue] to their facility,” said Jones, a California native who was inspired by the state’s poppy flower. “It’s their piece of art given to me to create for them. They were excited. It’s something different.”

Blending experiences with business seemed to be a hit with attendees such as Li Choi, a veteran designer who was shopping for Kiyo Inc., her downtown Los Angeles brand of women’s contemporary clothing. While Choi was impressed by the Japan Blue x KiriLeigh Jones live mural painting, she also noted that the importance of the show lies in the quality of exhibitors.

“I started on the first day and participated all three days because it’s a very important asset to me,” Choi said. “There isn’t much repetition, and they have a high-end concept. It’s concentrated in this space and the vendors are serious. As manufacturers and designers, that makes us happy. We don’t have to go up and down throughout the building.”

The show also saw new attendees, such as James Richards of Crown Hats. A Philadelphia native who has been in Los Angeles for 10 years, Richards was searching for textiles to create unique designs using unconventional hat fabrics.

“I was looking for a lot of different fabric to do different hats in silks and velvets,” he said. “There are a lot of different materials, so I can expand the line.”

Visiting Los Angeles for her first show on the West Coast, FeltLoom, Inc., President Lanette Freitag received a lot of interest for her small-scale production services. But she garnered the most attention from her needle-felting machine, whose cost ranges from $7,500 to $23,000.

After selling her machine to companies including 3M and Eastman, she was showcasing its ability to repurpose materials into new fabric, thereby increasing the options for sustainable-textile manufacturing in the apparel industry.

“The show has been very welcoming and very easy. I’ve done a lot of shows in my life, and this one was very comfortable,” she said regarding her show experience after traveling from Sharpsburg, Ky. “FeltLoom is beginning to take off. Our goal is that we’ll have a FeltLoom in every city in the United States so people can come in and repurpose their own textiles.”

For Spring/Summer 2020 at the Solstiss booth, the Caudry, France–based company’s president, François Damide, saw a return to dream-worthy details. Traffic at his booth was generated by local designers and brands based out of Australia, the Cayman Islands, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Texas and Florida.

“The trend is very romantic—the Chantilly lace, trims, lots of pastels,” he said. “It varies, but the trend is sheer and delicate so people have been placing orders for these types of articles. They also love to match the allover material with the trim. We had some movement on the Summer velvet.”

Representing the Los Angeles showroom for Zen Textiles—headquartered in Rockville Centre, N.Y.—sales representative Shannon Bamrick was pleased to see the changes at the show and felt that LA Textile is a crucial part of her business. With buyers coming in from Seattle, Canada and San Francisco, she saw a lot of interest in ecologically sound materials and technical fabric.

“A big draw for us is yarn dyes plus organic, eco-friendly shirting and prints. We service the streetwear and contemporary markets in L.A. a lot,” she said. “The weather-cloth look is a big one for us. That is where we do our technical fabrics—bombers, boardshorts, everything that is water repellent, technical fabric.”

At the Texollini booth, a steady flow of traffic over the three days meant 80 percent of the people seen were new clients searching for textiles that would work well for swim, men’s performance tops, active/athleisure and some demand for kids’ contemporary.

“We’ve had a good show. We’ve been busy with a lot of new and upcoming brands and designers. Overall, there was a nice, steady flow,” said Sherry Wood, the Long Beach, Calif., company’s director of merchandising. “When the shows were Monday through Wednesday, Monday wasn’t a good day. I think making the show Wednesday through Friday helped.”