JM International Inc.

COLORFAST HEATHER: Buhler Quality Yarns recently introduced MicroModal heather yarns made with Lenzing’s Modal Color fibers. Available in seven colors, the heather yarns are colorfast because the dye is introduced during the fiber-manufacturing process. In addition, the process saves energy and uses less water and dye. Plus, the final fabric can be overdyed to create additional colors.

VARIATIONS: These swatches from Los Angeles–based knit mill Design Knit are all the same layout but made with different yarns or dyed to create dramatically different looks.

Jay Ann Fabrics Inc

The threat of rain put a damper on the opening day of the Los Angeles International Textile Show , but traffic picked up on the second and third day of the show’s March 2–4 run at the California Market Center .

This season the CMC debuted a new look for the 13th-floor penthouse, which had been reconfigured to add additional open-booth space. The new look was praised by exhibitors, although several said they had to move from longstanding locations to harder-to-find spots on the floor.

That was the case for Buhler Quality Yarns , which moved from its initial spot in a showroom tucked in a corner to an open-booth space in the newly reconfigured space.

Victor Almeida, textile engineer with the Jefferson, Ga.–based spinning mill, said traffic picked up as the show progressed.

“You still need to be here no matter what,” he said. “There’s always one or two that make it worthwhile.”

This season, Buhler introduced MicroModal heather yarns in seven colors. Because the dye is introduced during the fiber-manufacturing process, the color won’t wash out. The process saves energy and uses less water and dye, plus the final fabric can be overdyed to create additional colors.

The company is also in the process of introducing yarns made from long-staple cotton as a cost-effective alternative to luxury Supima cotton.

“We’ve always been a Supima producer, but people are looking for something that still has the quality and the performance but at a lower price,” Almeida said. “We are not an upland cotton producer. The cotton is still grown in California. The goal of Buhler is to produce a long-staple cotton that’s still a high quality yarn. With finishing and processing you might be able to be close to what you can get with Supima but more affordable and still good quality.”

Buhler’s customers who prefer the true Supima cotton product will be able to use the Supima hangtags and other marketing materials to promote their products as made with the Supima yarns.

This summer Buhler will have a new line in its Jefferson plant to handle production of the long-staple cotton.

Los Angeles–based knit mill Design Knit saw consistent traffic throughout the show, said marketing manager Pat Tabassi.

Inspired by a nautical theme, Design Knit introduced new stripes and textures, as well as lightweight fine French terry fabrics, lace- and mesh-inspired developments, and linen blends as well as some polyester fabrics, which is unusual for the company.

“We’re not usually a poly-rich company, but we have some 100 percent poly for sublimation or activewear,” Tabassi said.

The mill was also showing several double-faced fabrics as well as developments that can vary depending on the yarn used.

“We like to show how you can do the same layout, but based on a different yarn. It will have a different look,” Tabassi said.

The market for higher-end fabrics was good. Michael Shapiro, owner of Los Angeles–based D&N Fabrics , which was in a new location at the show, mixed in with the European fabric providers.

“Yesterday was busy,” Shapiro said on the final day of the show. “Monday was slow—and cold.”

(On opening day of the show, overactive air conditioners had several exhibitors wearing coats, wool hats and scarves in their booths.)

Shapiro said he was seeing a lot of designers he already knows but was surprised that many of his out-of-town customers did not attend this time.

According to Rebecca Aguilar, CMC spokesperson, bad weather impacted some attendees’ travel plans. “We had attendees calling that their flights were delayed and didn’t know when they were going to make it out,” she said. “Despite that, we had a definite increase in notable designers and companies.”

Among the designers, brands and retailers that attended the show were Kevan Hall, Peter Cohen, Karl Kani, David Meister, Guess , Gap Inc ., Levi Strauss & Co ., Perry Ellis , Spirit Activewear , Joe’s Jeans , Modcloth , Miss Me , Tobi , Walt Disney Co. , Wildfox , Corey Lynn Calter , American Apparel , Pacific Sunwear , BCBG Max Azria , Nasty Gal , Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent , Trina Turk , S plendid , Ella Moss , Planet Blue , Obey Clothing , 7 for All Mankind , Billabong , J Brand , American Rag & CIE , Heidi Merrick , Brian Lichtenberg , Three Dots , Manhattan Beachwear , Michael Stars , Kohl’s , Karen Kane , Current/Elliott , The Reformation , Speedo , Black Halo , Rachel Pally , Torrid , Trashy Lingerie and Monique Lhuillier .

For Raj Parikh, manager of Los Angeles–based Jay Ann Fabrics , the second day of the show was the busiest. Parikh said he was seeing existing customers, as well as prospective new ones.

Alexis Quesada, with DFW , a Los Angeles–based stock-yardage supplier, agreed that the second day of the show was busy.

Quesada said a small percentage of the traffic seemed to be up-and-coming companies.

“Most are established companies—either apparel producers or costume designers,” she said. “For me, we’re getting a lot of costume designers.”

At SG Knits , some designers were looking for fabrics with a “drier hand,” said Vice President Lauren Greenberg, although company President Steve Greenberg said he was also fielding requests for super-soft Modal fabrics.

“You have be able to give people what they want—quickly,” Lauren Greenberg said.

SG only knits to order, but the Greenbergs said if someone comes to the booth looking for something they don’t have, they try to provide a referral to a company that does.

“We’re all in this industry together,” Steve Greenberg said.

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