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Recession Fears Seen Impacting Paris Textile Shows

Organizers of next week's Première Vision show are trumpeting creativity and innovation to hold off the economic storm clouds, and at the Texworld show, producers believe the financial pressure on buyers could steer firms toward offerings from...

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PARIS — Organizers of next week's Première Vision show are trumpeting creativity and innovation to hold off the economic storm clouds, and at the Texworld show, producers believe the financial pressure on buyers could steer firms toward offerings from lower-cost suppliers.

Première Vision, considered Europe's most influential fabric fair, will be held here Feb. 19 to 22 at the Parc d'Expositions in Villepinte. Men's fashion will be one of the major talking points, with a series of conferences called "Masculin Pluriel," lined up to cover the evolution of the men's market.

"Whereas consumerism in the women's fashion market has stagnated, the men's market is flourishing," said Philippe Pasquet, chief executive officer of Première Vision, explaining how certain emerging markets, notably China, are a huge opportunity for men's fashion brands.

Registration figures suggest that the number of visitors to the show will not be hampered by the economic downturn, he said. The firm's New York show, from Jan. 23 to 24, recorded a 1 percent decline in attendance.

"Of course, we are all negatively impacted by what is happening in the States, but all of the big retailers know that during such times it is vital to create desire and to incite impulse purchases," Pasquet said. "Added-value product is one way for them to stand out from competitors and they know they can find that here."

Stressing the importance for the industry to avoid retrenching during periods of uncertainty, Pasquet also revealed plans to increase the presence of the fashion trimmings fair, Mod'Amont in New York, after its recent partnership with Tarsus, the owner of Mod'Amont.

"Fashion brands are very interested in trimmings," he said. "It's a category that has the potential to grow."

Pasquet said emerging markets also are providing some relief for mills during the economic doldrums by supplying European fashion brands that are tapping into such markets.

"Historically, whenever America has gone into a recession, the whole world followed," he said. "But today, though they carry less weight, emerging economies are plugging some of the gaps."

Pasquet cited countries such as Russia, China and, to a lesser extent, India and Brazil.
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