LA Textile Provides Opportunities for Sourcing Amid Supply-Chain Challenges
While the California Market Center has been undergoing a major renovation, LA Textile show producers still made space for its biannual trade show. During its March 4-6 run, exhibitors noticed attendees were interested in sourcing fabrics and notions to remain ahead of the coronavirus threats to the supply chain.
For Commerce, Calif.–based Fabric Selection, the show afforded an opportunity to introduce its new Matisse Studio collection following a successful Sourcing at MAGIC show during February in Las Vegas. Manager Sean Zarini was excited to expand upon the momentum generated during last month’s trade show, which signaled the beginning of regulations implemented due to the threat of COVID-19 when a travel ban on travelers from China was announced by the Trump administration.
“It was very good in Las Vegas. We were in the tent, it was cold, there was coronavirus and the Chinese vendors didn’t come. I thought it would be bad, but it was good. The first shipment came in and sold out in Las Vegas,” he said. “We had so many more items. We changed the design 50 to 60 percent into a new, younger look with more novelty.”
At this Los Angeles show hosted within the CMC, Zarini mentioned that designers and manufacturers were not as demanding as they had been during previous editions. With uncertainty regarding the supply chain and shipments from overseas, he was able to provide alternative solutions to customers.
“People are hungry for fabric because fabric is not coming from China,” he said. “They are buying whatever they can. Nobody said, ‘I want this or that’ or ‘You don’t have this fabric.’”
Visiting the show from the downtown Los Angeles apparel manufacturer Tramever, Revi Green-Johnson was one of the visitors who was searching for sourcing partners who could provide alternatives to her current supply chain.
“New resources from different countries to diversify our reach for fabric. We do orders from China, so I want to know from where else I can source,” she explained as she searched for plaids, knits and ecologically sound options. “[Eco friendly] is a growing factor in our industry.”
The eco-friendly boom was trending high, according to California Label Products Account Executive Deserie Balades. She also revealed that the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus led attendees to consider products that are made in the United States.
“More people are concerned about our environment and eco-friendly products in sustainable materials,” she said. “[They are also] Made in U.S.A.–driven, trying to bring back the work here. Not having to rely on freight coming in from China with everything going on.”
At the Kalimo booth, Julia Abrahamian and Dalena Bui were promoting their biodegradable textile offerings, which were checking high at the show.
“This is one of our best shows here,” Bui said. “We have a biodegradable fabric—soon we’ll have recycled Lycra.”
As one of the last events to be held before producers began canceling trade shows and fashion-week productions, LA Textile provided an opportunity. It was important to be in attendance, mentioned Abrahamian.
“It’s evolving. This edition was better than the last, and we look forward to the next. Regardless of the coronavirus, we are here and we did well,” she said. “There is a higher demand for ecological, eco-friendly styles.”
For her Valencia, Calif., dressmaking business, Maria Hoffens of Danu Original Sewing was searching for partners who could help her emerging brand thrive by considering small quantities.
“It gets challenging because most of this is wholesale. I talk with them and see if anyone does lower quantities,” she said as she considered fabrics that were plain in addition to special products featuring embroidery. “It’s a fantastic place to connect with different people. Everybody gathers here. It’s nice to network.”
Able to accommodate any size business, J. Chandresh, executive producer of Chennai, India’s Subbarow, mentioned that his jacquard options were gaining a lot of traction.
“We do everything,” he said. “It’s a range of everybody. You also have the big labels going for sampling averages. For us, this is our bread and butter. We do well here.”
First-time attendee Sheer Sebag of the Calabasas, Calif., dress brand Sheer was impressed with the show and reported that her existing partners were pleasantly surprised with the traffic.
“Some of the feedback from one of our mills that is here is that she was surprised about the foot traffic with the coronavirus,” she said. “It exceeded her expectations.”
For Sebag, having a show close to home was important as she enjoys having the option to travel less but not compromise on quality goods.
“The show is great. I am happy to see a lot of ethical, sustainable options and new innovations on the market. I am happy to see a lot of Made in America,” Sebag explained. “There is a diverse amount of textiles, whether it’s different countries or types of textiles. It’s a great place to come find everything all in one spot. It’s a wonderful resource right here in the city of L.A.”
On March 18, the CMC revealed that while they are thinking ahead to the next edition of LA Textile, which will be the show’s relaunch in Building C’s new space named The Loft, event organizers are prioritizing public safety. Once a clearer picture of a timeline is available regarding reducing the threat of the coronavirus, the show’s producers will confirm dates for the next event.