The Apparel and Footwear Materials Show I attended in Portland yesterday was pretty interesting, and a tad bit weird. Let’s just say I saw more than a handful of booths dedicated to arch supports. There were some textile companies exhibiting there, but not many that used any recycled or eco-friendly fibers. I did make a few good contacts, including meeting with someone at Repreve, a company that makes recycled polyester yarn, and he provided me with sales rep names from textile mills that use Repreve fibers. It would be great to have more mills to work with!
Over 60% of the leather and textile vendors at the trade show were from Asia, namely China and Korea. Those Asians do some crazy sh%t with leather: they do wax embossing, printing, and pigmenting in all colors and patterns. Unfortunately, embossed cheetah printed leather doesn’t really go with my design aesthetic. As I spoke to some of these leather import companies, I was really enticed by the low prices they quoted me. But when I thought through the math I realized that even though their leather is half as expensive as the US-tanned leather, the veg-tanned leather I am sourcing is of significantly higher quality. And of course I don’t have to deal with the importing hassle!
But enough about yesterday. I made so much progress TODAY! I finally ordered all of the hardware for my bags (over 900 pieces!), and luckily everything was in stock. And if this alone wasn’t exciting enough, I received the patterns for the laptop briefcase and totebag today too, and I sent those to the manufacturer this afternoon! I’m sort of in shock that the last stages of pre-production are wrapping up. I’m a little freaked out.
Time to bust out a bottle of wine. Cheers!