L.A. Textile Show Reflects Apparel Industry Changes and CMC Transition
During this week’s L.A. Textile show, attendees experienced the fruits of a new initiative to refresh the biannual event, which took place Oct. 3–5 at the California Market Center in downtown Los Angeles.
With property management firm Brookfield Properties implementing updates and new construction projects at the 1.8 million-square-foot complex, the show is being produced with a new approach.
Describing the initiative to make textiles more exciting through artistic expression, Brookfield Properties’s Emilie Lewis, director of CMC events, said the show’s installations were created by visual designers.
“Rafael de los Santos and Anna Victor [a former Saks Fifth Avenue employee], who did the lobby installation—the weaving from Malhia Kent that is on the wall and the hanging installation—and all the installations upstairs, came from the retail world, which was really interesting for us to give them our direction and let them interpret it in a creative way.”
During the next L.A. Textile show, scheduled for March 6–8, 2019, Lewis hopes to expand the show’s artistic presence by creating more installations throughout the event space. “Next season, I want every wall to have something really exciting on it,” she said.
Seeing fresh changes at the show was important for Venia Collection’s Chief Executive Officer Christine Ko and Creative Director Keeter Ly, whose Los Angeles–based, high-end contemporary men’s and womenswear brand was founded upon blending luxury apparel with technology.
For Ko, witnessing the beginning of L.A. Textile’s evolution was refreshing because she and Ly are constantly cultivating their own fully sustainable brand to grow with innovations in technology and apparel manufacturing.
“Cities around the world are turning their eyes to L.A., so it’s time this city becomes a bigger competitive player in the trade-show field. The reason we kept our brand in L.A. was because we felt there was a wave to ride,” Ko said. “Now, there is all this expansion—fashion, real estate, technology—it’s all booming.”
One of the largest initiatives during the October textile show was the move to highlight resources in sustainable fashion. There was the launch of The Future of Fashion conference—created in partnership with Le FrenchLab, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Fashion Revolution USA—which was held Oct. 3 to focus on smart and ethical fashion. A Fashiondex Sustainable Fashion Forum took place on Oct. 4.
“I love the focus on sustainability this year,” Ly said. “We’ve been here for the last five years, and it’s a big deal.”
Andrea Plell of Fashion Revolution USA said she was on a panel for The Future of Fashion conference to show how female workers’ rights fall under the umbrella of sustainable manufacturing.
“The sustainable fashion movement is a big part of the #MeToo movement as well,” she said. “Eighty percent of the people making our clothes are women, and many of them are being exploited.”
Following the panel, she spoke personally with some attendees about ethical manufacturing and found that many new apparel-business owners created their sustainable brands to take ownership over a fashion brand and make changes they wanted to see in the industry.
“In the past few years, people are more empowered to use their voices and take their lifestyles in their own hands,” Plell said. “I am seeing progressively more people involved in these conversations.”
L.A. Textile show exhibitors compared the event to those of the past and were impressed with the work done to elevate the experience. They were optimistic about the changes and the show’s fresh aesthetic.
“This show has changed, the management has changed and the setup is completely different,” said Cyrus Nazari, the founder of the 4-year-old Los Angeles–based, full-service manufacturing firm Fil & Needle. “It looks quite cleaner.”
Other sections of the L.A. Textile show included the LA Textile x PeclersParis Trend Forum, the Turkey Country Lounge & Pavilion, Knit Wit Lounge, Inner-City Arts Lounge, Creative Textile Block Printing with Art Creators LA and the pop-up Findings Market x LA Textile buying experience in the CMC lobby.
While the L.A. Textile show made a big transition, organizers are planning for the next show to elevate the brand from a local to a global level.
“When people mention the important shows they have on the calendar for the year, we want L.A. Textile to be in that sentence,” said the CMC’s Lewis. “We have to continue to grow and get better to make sure we are in those conversations.”