The Local: The Voices Behind NYC Textile Week

Enjoy New York on the Cheap

The Big Apple tastes even better with a bargain.

As guests of NYC Textile Week, all attendees with the Delegate Discount Pass will gain access to perks around the city, including free drinks, deserts and other discounts at trendy restaurants and local favorites. The pass also includes deals on walking tours, cruises and theaters.

To download your free Delegate Discount Pass, just click the download link at the end of this article.

Click Here to download your Delegate Discount Pass

State of New York Welcomes NYC Textile Week

NYC Textile Week received a seal of approval from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

In a welcome letter to the city’s textile and apparel industry, Governor Cuomo writes:

“This exciting week of sourcing, networking, and seminars will introduce participants to the latest trends, innovations, and cutting-edge technology which, in turn, will help to develop commercially appealing and viable products for market…On behalf of all New Yorkers, I commend the professionals of every facet of the textile and apparel industry who have come together to take part in NYC Textile Week.”

NYC Textile Week will kick off Jan. 24-26, 2016 across New York City. Events include Texworld USA, Milano Unica, MRket and Vanguards Gallery, Liberty Fairs and Apparel Sourcing.

Texworld to Host Fabric Awards

Texworld USA will celebrate the best in fabric innovation at the first TWUSA Fabric Awards in January. The competition is open to all Texworld USA exhibitors.

A panel of industry experts will determine winners based on esthetics, price-to-performance ratio, marketability and results from independent third party testing. Winning submissions will be announced on January 11, 2016.

Award categories include: Temperature Control, Environmentally Friendly Processing, Most Innovative, along with several others. The trend team of 2G2L, Louis Gerin and Gregory Lamaud, will judge Best Booth Design at the start of the show.

Off the Cuff with Manufacture New York Founder Bob Bland

From its state-of-the-art buildings to its gourmet street food scene, the very same things that make New York City a treat to visit also makes it one of the most priciest place to live and build a business. Manufacturer New York Founder Bob Bland and her network of forward-thinking designers and innovators seek to change that for the fashion community.
 
“The main thing that’s stopping us in New York City is affordable space and cost of living,” Bland said.
 
As a designer and entrepreneur herself, Bland understands the roadblocks that prohibit most emerging designers from getting their ideas off the ground in the one of world’s most expensive cities. Designers in New York are working in a low margin industry, and yet the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city is $3,100. However, Bland pointed out that it’s not just a fashion problem—it’s citywide.
 
When Bland organized Manufacture New York in 2012, she sought to create a collaborative effort of industry leaders to mentor, train and supply designers with affordable and dependable domestic production resources. Most designers receive their initial training in New York. Bland believes they should have the opportunity to stay and do business in New York.
 
“There’s a tremendous opportunity for textile sourcing and production to come back in New York City, and that is why NYC Textile Week is important. You need to give designers as many opportunities and point of views as possible in sourcing,” Bland explained. She noted that the best sourcing decisions happen when the actual designer can touch fabrics and learn from suppliers.
 
Over the years, Bland said it’s become increasingly difficult to keep the fashion industry in New York as contractors have been forced to close doors due to increased rent costs. “Creative industries have lost market share in New York City,” Bland said. “We have all of the talent, but we need to do more to provide more incentive to do business here and to gain more investment by established leaders in the industry.”
 
Manufacture New York has been on the receiving end of such investments. In September 2014, the incubator was awarded a $50,000 grant as part of the Obama administration Growth Accelerator Fund, which was contributed to assist local startups. A few months later, New York City pledged to invest $3.5 million in the creation of the Manufacturing Innovation Hub for Apparel, Textile and Wearable Tech. Manufacture New York will occupy the building’s fifth floor and assist with its training programs that will prepare workers to earn well-paying jobs in the fashion sector, as well as house private studios, an industrial sewing room, a small-run factory for sample-making and provide a research center for advancements in wearable technology.
 
Historically, Bland said New York City has been known for incredible pattern makers, fit and a commitment to high-end design and ready-to-wear. While those skills remain crucial to succeeding in the global apparel business, Bland sees a unique opportunity to capitalize on the Garment District’s proximity to New York’s technology sector.
 
No other city in the world has as many fashion and technology companies in the same zip code. “We can take advantage these tech companies and startups and actually create win-win partnerships that would enrich fashion and make the industry more appealing to Millennials and generations to come,” Bland said.
 

Off the Cuff with Trend Forecaster Haysun Hahn

Haysun Hahn is a multi-hyphenated New Yorker. During her 30-plus years observing and forecasting trends, consumer tendencies, colors and design for Cotton Inc., Promostyl, Bureau de Style and more, Hahn has influenced footwear, electronics, retail and global events, including the Olympics. Hahn also earned a bragging right envied by all proper New Yorkers: She developed the New York Yankee’s blue.
 
“When you have a career this long, you’ve had some time to specialize in a few things, and I’m doing many different things,” she said about her multi-hyphenated title. Hahn’s diverse resume—from selecting colors for Patagonia, to helping financial institutions gain an understanding of how consumers spend as retail and fashion change—serves as example of how trends touch every industry.
 
A love of “things and objects,” which Hahn says is a trait of her generation, led her into forecasting, but the power of consumerism has held her attention. “I have the privilege to observe change and share with others how that manifests in our physical and environmental domain, including how we live and where we live,” she said. “I’m really turned on by change. To be around that constantly is thrilling.”
 
Hahn is currently working with Barnes and Noble Education to better understand how consumers spend in the collegiate environment, and to ultimately help merchandisers execute the best ways to service the company’s 700 retail locations. “It’s very interesting because there’s a mixed consumer profile who go into these stores to spend their parents’ money, scholarship money,” she said. “It’s fun to see how much and what kinds of things they buy.”
 
Projects like this are a reminder that America and in particular, American youth, are not separate from global trends. “We like to claim regional differences, but globally youth are alike because they have the same media. Trends and products actually move very slowly because the global community has to love it before it becomes a trend. It’s a uniform,” Hahn explained.
 
For Hahn, that global stamp of approval on trends is all the more reason to attend textile events like NYC Textile Week, as she considers New York to be the most global city in the world. “New York is very important for trends, especially for textiles,” she said. “When I go to shows, I look at new stuff but also how we can apply it to how we live. There’s a weak connection between textiles and consumers, so I’m always looking for those key things that I can start preaching about.”
 
In the last 10 to 15 years, Hahn says textiles have become “mysterious things” to consumers, despite being a medium touching their bodies. “Most people don’t know what viscose or microfiber is, or why their denim stretches. You have to tell them they aren’t jeans, that they’re leggings,” she quipped.
 
Hahn advocates for better lines of communication between the textile industry, consumer product companies and consumers. She said it is crucial to move forward, and she sees New York Textile Week as an opportunity to forge those connections. “It’s a very important to know how far we’ve come and how far we can go,” Hahn said. “When I’m working with my sports clients, if they do not understand textiles and products, then we can’t advance.”
 
She added, “It is textiles that have made many changes. Textiles have changed faster than fashion.”

New York City, According to Haysun Hahn

Trend forecaster Haysun Hahn says New York City won’t ever lose its position as a key play in the world as the center of fashion, however, the proud New Yorker says the buzz surrounding its local industry can be a little lackluster. Hahn wants to change that with NYC Textile Week. “It is still the most global city in the world. It is a very important place, especially for textiles,” she said. Hahn added, “This is still the most innovative population, where ideas start to germinate. It doesn’t happen elsewhere else.”
 
Here, Hahn shares her tips on how to make the most of your visit to NYC Textile Week and the city she calls home.
 
Visit stores: Hahn says New York City is where retail and fashion are trends are born. “New York City is the biggest mall on the planet. You can see the most in the shortest time possible in New York. You can get a very quick read of what is out in stores—not necessarily what is being bought,” she said.
 
Visit neighborhoods: While SoHo is a “mecca” for outdoor brands, Hahn says the nabe is boring. Noho? “Disappeared.” Harlem? “It’s overrated.” Geographically, Hahn is watching Brooklyn. “I love that the minute you go to the Brooklyn side, the energy shifts,” she said, noting that businesses and boutiques in the borough are open trying different things. “It’s like a little East Village before that disappeared,” she quipped.
 
Parts of the Bronx are striking Hahn’s fancy, as well as the portion of Broadway between 33rd Street and Union Square. While bars at the NoMad Hotel and Ace Hotel are packed to the brim with young and fashionable people, outside the streets are still smelly and loud. “It’s a strange area because they have space to experiment and do something new,” Hahn said.
 
Eat—a lot: When it comes to dining out, Hahn said go new or go old. “Find out what the most recently opened restaurant is and go to it, because whatever the newest place is will be the oldest thing in six month,” she explained. Or, appease your tourist instincts and have dinner at one of the city’s marquee restaurants. “See what Landmark or The Boathouse look like. They’re not tourist traps. You won’t find a better brand than at The Boathouse,” Hahn added.
 
Visit a museum: Hahn says pick one museum—not a gallery—and dedicated time to walk through the entire collection. Visit the new Whitney Museum of American Art, or go classic and browse the Met. “I really use New York City. We so underestimate the value of the city’s museum. They are incredibly curated,” she said.

Off the Cuff with Creative Advisor Simon Collins

Simon Collins, creative advisor and chairman of WGSN’s advisory board, tells brands the things they don’t want to hear, but need to hear. The former Dean of the School of Fashion at Parsons School of Design keeps a pulse on what’s next in fashion, design and retail with his innate ability to cut through the “BS marketing buzz” and see ideas for what they are really worth.
 
For example, despite designers like Diane von Furstenberg and Tory Burch tapping into wearable technology with accessories, and retailers like Macy’s dedicating substantial space to the gadgets, Collins remains skeptical about the direction wearable tech is going.
 
On the topic of Apple Watch, Collins says: “I don’t understand why people are wasting their time with a watch that does everything your phone already does.” He would, however, like to own a jacket that keeps him warm in the cold months and cool in the hot months. Or how about a jacket for his child equipped with GPS so he could track their whereabouts with his phone, Collins suggests.
 
Collins’ common sense approach to trends is invaluable for brands trying to make sense of the astronomical amount of solicited and unsolicited information pouring in from social media and the Internet. “You can argue that everyone has access to trends and information, but it’s the editorial and how everything comes together that remains important. That hasn’t changed,” he said.
The leading fashion editors and trend forecasters continue to have strong roles, he says. “If they decided it’s important, then it is. You need that group that can look at everything and recognize what’s important,” Collins said.
 
One buzz word that Collins can get behind is transparency. “Total exposure—we’re going to see more of it,” he said, noting that consumers can recognize which brands use it as marketing propaganda and which have a genuine interest in responsible production.
 
Collins says it takes a “strong, honest and open commitment from a company” to create full transparency, not to mention thick skin. He names H&M as one example of a large corporation taking steps in the right direction by publishing an annual sustainability report—even if it means exposing themselves to criticism.
 
As consumers become more invested in where and how their garments are made, Collins predicts there will be a renewed appreciation for fabrics and mills. J.Crew is shining a spotlight on England’s Abraham Moon mill, featuring the mill’s name on the label of its tweed blazers. Meanwhile, brands like Converse have marked the 110th anniversary of Cone’s White Oak Mill with commemorative products.
“We’re back to celebrating quality fabric,” he said.

New York City, According to Simon Collins

Creative advisor Simon Collins describes New York City as the world’s store window. The city continues to be one of the most important fashion cities in the world—for both business and inspiration—which is why Collins says textiles and events supporting the industry like NYC Textile Week are crucial for growth and innovation.
 
Here, Collins shares his tips on how to make the most of your visit to NYC Textile Week on and off the trade show floor.
 
Get inspired: “I’m eternally curious—I can’t go down the street without picking up ideas and inspiration and textile fairs are always like that for me,” Collins says. At shows, he satisfies his taste for luxury and menswear by scooping out quality wool and suiting manufacturers. One of his favorites for function, style and irony is London-based Dashing Tweeds. The mill makes tweed—which Collins points out was originally designed to blend in—with reflective yarn for stylish cyclists to stand out.
 
Visit independent retailers: Collins enjoys New York City’s Lower East Side’s independent spirit. “There’s lots of tiny stores owned one person and resale shops—that’s where inspiration lies. It’s the independents and the kids because it’s in their heart and it’s their passion. It used to be Williamsburg, but not so much anymore,” he said.
 
Get walking: “New York is great because you always have four different ways to get around,” Collins said. While he’s known to hop on a Citi Bike, Collins prefers to walk. He suggests picking an avenue, like Broadway or Fifth Avenue, and walking from 57th Street to down to TriBeCa to get a complete sense of the city.

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