Have you been to New York City in the winter? Have you seen the dirty, grimy and stinky streets battle for attention with the shiny tall buildings, ladies with their high heels, and the never ending flashing of the commercial neon lights? If not, I highly recommend going. I loved it!
My reason for going was to participate in the Texworld USA event, learn more about fabrics and manufacturers AND to meet some lovely people from the StartUp Fashion community - a designer membership that I’ve been a part of since last fall. And all of it was very, very interesting.
I learned that Repreve (fiber made from recycled polyester) is a big thing, and I heard that there’s such a thing as biodegradable polyester (unfortunately the people at the booth weren’t able to tell me much more info on that, so it left me a little confused).
I learned that I need to get educated on Tencel, which might be a good option for making comfy clothing.
They had a Fair Trade booth, with lists of certified manufacturing companies (interestingly mostly not the ones exhibiting at the show), and a couple of recycling / upcycling organisations that are based in NY.
They also had a little stage set up for showcasing future possibilities with alternative sustainable fibers like orange peel, pineapple or fish skin. I’m so interested!
I talked a lot, got to practice my elevator pitch and traded in a bunch of business cards. At this point though, the amount of fabric that’s possible for me to order at a time, doesn’t really match with the minimums (1000-3000 yards) of most of these manufacturers. And even if it did, would I be ready to trade my very nice and very valuable ‘made in US’ fabrics for very nice and so much more affordable ‘made in China/ Taiwan/Korea/Turkey’ ones?
Did you know that the same organic cotton fabric that’s made here and costs $9 / yard would cost less than $3 / yard from these other places? That’s a big difference, right? At the moment I’m happy to order small quantities from places that are close, but… What do you think you’d do?
The highlight of my trip though was meeting the StartUp fashion founder Nicole Giordano and some of the other group members. It’s SO nice to get to know people who talk the same business talk, and know exactly where you’re at from just a short conversation. It’s also very healthy to talk with designers who are on different stages of their business. I felt so inspired talking to some ladies that are clearly ahead of the game and more established, and I felt so proud of myself talking to the ones who are just starting it out at the idea stage. The general feeling at the meeting was extremely positive and encouraging, and I’m just so happy I had the chance to go!
I definitely learned a lot and got very excited and inspired professionally, but I also had fun! I was lucky enough to have a friend host me and show me places too. That’s always the best. Thank you Lisa!
I loved seeing so many different kinds of people, and hearing so many different kinds of languages and accents (it made me feel very cosy and at ease with my own little accent). I loved adventuring the city by subway and figuring out ways to get to places. I loved the contrast, and the feeling of endless possibilities (such a cliche, but totally true). I went to see Chicago on Broadway and two tiny drag shows after, had a manhattan in Manhattan, plus saw three huge rats on a Brooklyn subway station! I know, I might soon become one of those people wearing an ‘I heart NY’ t-shirt, teehee!