Designers, merchandisers, product managers, and other fabric researchers have a new tool to quickly find fabric anywhere in the world with the opening of this week. The idea behind FabricPro is to provide an on-line database of fabrics on the Internet, searchable by 20 different criteria such as structure, coloring method, description, fiber content, finish, design, location, lead-time, weight, end use. to allow precise, focused sourcing. Users can easily order swatches, save their searches or e-mail suppliers for more information . "The difficulty of sourcing fabric has long been underestimated, except by those who actually have done it" according to Paul Russo, founder of, who has spent 28 years sourcing and selling fabric. "Fabric researchers in a fashion business are typically charged with sourcing a variety of specific fabrics in a short period of time. They must deal with the aesthetic demands of designers and customers, cost restrictions, time constraints, shifts in production from one part of the world to another, plus they must keep up with rapidly changing fashion trends and new products. Many companies wind up settling for the first fabric they can find that costs out and can be delivered on time even if they don't love it." The idea of using the Internet to address this issue came to Russo almost a year ago while working as an agent for Asian and European mills . "We would get calls daily from manufacturers looking for specific fabrics. They would be going down a list of suppliers in a print directory trying to find one that had the fabric they needed" said Russo. "On the other hand, we would receive new fabrics from the mills that I knew we could sell if only we could get them in the hands of the right person, at the right company, at the right time." FabricPro opened its beta site on May 30 and already has thousands of fabrics listed. The site is free to both suppliers and researchers.