New York City is considered the fashion capital of the world. And NYC Textile Week is one of the reasons why. Bar-none, the Texworld USA and apparelsourcing trade shows are the two best sourcing events for apparel fabric buyers, research and product development specialists, designers, merchandisers and overseas sourcing professionals. If they are like us at sharmbaa, they go to these shows ready to be inspired by fabrics, influenced by the latest trends and introduced to a host of reliable, cutting-edge apparel companies. Today, we take an in-depth look at Texworld and apparelsourcing. Check back next week for our focus on two smaller and more personal shows: City Source and DG Expo.
Texworld USA: Held bi-annually in at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in NYC, Texworld USA is North America’s largest sourcing event for textiles. The trade show provides the opportunity for professionals in every facet of the fashion industry to meet directly with a wide range of manufacturers from around the globe including Asia, the Middle East and North America. Texworld is the only event on the East Coast to focus on sourcing finished apparel, contract manufacturing and private label development. The main exhibit sectors of the trade show are: cotton, denim, eco-friendly, embroidery, fibers, functional fabrics, knits, lace, linen, prints, silk, and wool. There are no entry fees for qualified trade show visitors. It’s easier and faster to pre-register online, but you can also register on-site at the Javits Convention Center with a photo ID and a business card.
apparelsourcing (The International Apparel Sourcing Show): Held at the same time and venue as Texworld USA, the apparelsourcing show offers apparel brands, retailers, wholesalers and independent design firms a dedicated sourcing marketplace for finding the best domestic and international apparel manufacturers. If you want to learn about the manufacturing process, this is a great place to get the big picture overview of how the industry works and how to stay on top of current trends. Similar to Texworld USA, it offers a wide variety of people to connect with and build relationships. And, since it’s at the same location and included in your attendee pass, it’s easy enough to get in and just look around.
Our Experience as a Small Business at Texworld/apparelsourcing
1) Networking, discovering new fabrics and meeting future/potential suppliers
Texworld USA: If you are a company that can manage the 3,000-yard minimum, Texworld USA is definitely the trade show for you to place orders, discover new products and services, and to take advantage of the networking opportunities. If, however, you are an emerging designer, like us, the minimums can be daunting and just straight-up cost prohibitive. We come looking forward to the day when we will be able to place the minimum order, and to be inspired by all the amazing textiles the global market has to offer in the meantime! A relatively recent and much-needed addition to the show is an itinerary of over 70 companies that offer small orders of 50-100 yards. Generally, people at the booths are willing to chat with you, if you can keep it brief. Most vendors enjoy your enthusiasm and will answer questions as long as a bigger client is not waiting to talk with them. Understandably, the bottom line is that they have a business to run and, if you can’t place the order, they can’t spend time talking to you. We have never encountered anyone who was rude, but there are a few vendors who can tell you’re not ready to buy, and will answer a few brief question or two and let you browse. Browsing is great, because there are so many swatches for you to feel to learn about all your fabric options. We have created some nice relationships with some global suppliers, even though we are not quite ready to order the minimum. It can be a bit challenging communicating because of language barriers, but everyone speaks some English. This show offers an amazing opportunity to be able to make connections with suppliers from all over the world.
2) Find Suppliers Who Practice Ethical Social Standards
Texworld USA: We come to meet and chat with the few suppliers that practice ethical social standards. Texworld USA has created a four-colored leaf system to easily identify which suppliers offer sustainable options. Green leaf: environmentally friendly materials, blue leaf: environmentally-friendly processes, brown leaf: social standards (Oddly, there are NO sole brown leaf options), silver leaf: eco-friendly, ecological materials produced in environmentally-friendly processes and with viable social standards. At sharmbaa, we look for the silver leaf, which, fortunately (or unfortunately) amounts to about 14 suppliers. This certainly makes it easier for us to feel like we can manage a trade show that has over 500 exhibitors from over 13 countries.
apparelsourcing: There are several suppliers at appparelsourcing worth visiting, if you are a company interested in ethical social standards. Prima Fashion House, is a Las Vegas-USA based partner of Prima Exports, an accessories & textiles manufacturer/exporter based out of Noida, India. Prima offer services that essentially bridge the gap between East and West, which creates efficiency and consistent communication. There are no awkward language barriers or time zone differences to hinder business, resulting in garments being manufactured and delivered in a timely manner. They will also supply you with information regarding the current factory/worker conditions. The cost of this service is outweighed by the value of having experienced people working for you to get your apparel manufactured, especially if you are just starting out.
Another company, TS Fashion House, is a garment exporter and buying agency based in Bangladesh, which has a US-based office. TS Fashion House makes sure a factory is evaluated, meets compliance standards and is certified by WRAP, ETI, BSCI or SA800. Since visiting a factory in Bangladesh is probably not feasible for a smaller company, knowing that TS Fashion House only works with factories that are in compliance with all the primary ethical standards and practices is great.
If you are looking to manufacture outside of the US, PROCOLOMBIA works as a liaison between you and the vertical manufacturing options that Colombia has to offer. They will coordinate travel to visit apparel manufacturers in Columbia in one day. This means that you could see for yourself that a factory meets whatever ethical/ eco standards that you are practicing. Knowing exactly what a factory looks like and how it operates is a big plus, especially for a company like sharmbaa, where we pride ourselves on our ethical practices.
3) Attend Educational Seminars
Texworld USA/apparelsourcing: We attend the complimentary (with attendee registration) and valuable educational seminars led by industry professionals. The summer edition seminar series was organized by Lenzing Fibers Inc, and focused on 2016/2017 trends for Autumn/Winter, sourcing techniques and how to start a successful business in the fashion industry. Here’s just a short list of the seminars from the July show: MADE IN NYC, WIRING TEXTILES, 5 RETAIL TRENDS TO WATCH, ADDING VALUE - THE POWER OF PREMIUM PRODUCTS and SUSTAINABLE COTTON OPTIONS. Our favorite seminar is the TEXWORLD TRENDS PRESENTATION. We always look forward to the TRENDS seminar because we love the energy, enthusiasm, creativity and passion that Texworld Art Directors Louis Gérin and Grégory Lamaud, bring to the room. Louis and Grégory’s trends team, composed of stylists, designers, graphic designers, and writers, offer an authentic and original overview of tomorrow’s currents each season.
So, whether you’re a seasoned veteran or startup design company, Texworld USA/apparelsourcing are definitely two big East Coast trade shows on the must-do list. The next show is being held January 24-26, 2016. Here's a link about how to attend: Texworld USA