Byline: Ross Tucker, Court Williams
NEW YORK - Foreign mills exhibiting at trade shows here last week saw heavy foot traffic from brands and retailers, buoying their confidence even as poor exchange rates and increasing competition continue to put the pinch on profit margins.
At Premire Vision Preview, held Wednesday and Thursday at the Metropolitan Pavilion, exhibitors presented fall and winter 2008 selections to an American market that is particularly anxious about rising costs.
The first thought on most peoples' minds was the troubling exchange rate between the rising euro and the falling dollar (the euro reached an all-time high against the dollar of $1.3846 in early currency trading Monday before slipping slightly). Designers are having to dig deep to maintain prices, while providing the quality their customers have come to expect.
"It's made a huge difference in the way I shop the show," said designer Nanette Lepore. "About 80 percent of my collection is European fabrics and the cost is …