Friday, May 25, 2007

Chicago Fabric and Trim Show and Inspiration

There's an organization in Chicago called the Apparel Industry Board Inc. (AIBI). It is an agency of Chicago's Department of Planning and Development. Their mission is to promote the sewn products industry in Chicago. Among other programs, they sponsor an 8-week "Business of Fashion" seminar series each fall, semi-annual fabric/trim shows, a mentoring program, and fashion events. I attended the seminar series and found it to be a valuable educational experience.

The Spring AIBI-sponsored Fabric/Trim Show was Monday and Tuesday of this week, at the Appparel Mart in Chicago - next to the Merchandise Mart. I attended on Tuesday. The show was a modest size - nowhere near the extravaganza textile shows regularly held in Los Angeles and New York. But, for me and this new and humble initiative of mine it was the perfect size. It felt accessible, welcoming - not the least bit overwhelming.

There were some great denim sources for our jeans, and twill sources for our chinos. I was so pleased to find that I can source these fabrics in a stretch version - that is 3% spandex, 97% cotton. Fabric with a bit of stretch, or give, is perfect for our kids.

I was inspired, too, by the wonderful Spring and Summer weight fabrics in the most adorable (for youngsters) and really cool (for older-sters!) designs. As I looked at those fabrics I could see them, in my mind's eye, as finished capri pants for girls - that actually finish at capri length, instead of pant length!, camp shirts for boys, sundresses, shorts, coordinating pieces. The clothes frolicked with abandon in my imagination. Because we're tiny, with limited resources, we won't be able to bring all of those dancing, frolicking clothes into reality. But, we'll make some of them - at least in small volumes.

That's where some more feedback from you guys would be great. I know that many of you welcome the summer season because shorts and short sleeves and sleeveless tops are kind "one length fits all" clothes. In fact, I originally expected to make no summer clothes. But it seems as if there may be a small segment of need afterall. What do you guys think? Please share your thoughts and opinions.

I'm determined to file a trademark application for the company name next week. So, be sure to visit next Friday when I will publish (and explain!) the name of this venture/adventure and post our artmark - the piece of art that represents our trademark, logo, company name and motto all in one.

Hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday weekend! Happy Summer!

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