Buzzing with energy, discoveries being the order of the day The 16th session of the Apparel Sourcing and Shawls & Scarves Paris shows, with 366 and 26 exhibitors respectively, demonstrated as never before their immense importance for clothing production and textile accessories in global terms. An obvious advantage from the start. Visitors got down to business very quickly at exhibitors’ stands, which were a hive of activity practically during the entire event.
The products offered at Apparel Sourcing Paris, very diverse in terms of specialisation (from suits to sportswear and from underwear to dresses and blouses), techniques (bespoke tailoring, knitwear, accessories etc.) and ranges (for men, women and children) were aimed at every budget. This allowed buyers to consider the manufacture of future collections calmly. They immediately headed for their usual suppliers, while keeping an eagle eye on the new products offered.
“A busy and positive atmosphere reigned throughout this February session. Was it because the dates were slightly later in the industry calendar and because firms were eager to finalise their projects and ensure their goals. It also appears that the market is interested in improving how it responds to consumer demands (co-design, sustainability, durability), which has given rise to new approaches by suppliers to demonstrate their capacity to respond to them. It is especially the case with regular suppliers who it is easy to engage with. However, it is always satisfying to see that visitors are still just as interested when they encounter new countries or clothing manufacturers that we have tracked down for them,” continues Michael Scherpe, President of Messe Frankfurt France.
Now more or less a hallmark of Apparel Sourcing Paris, representatives from countries offering good alternative potential once again attracted prime contractors. Hence the return of Ethiopia did not escape the keen interest of visitors. Anteneh Alemu, the Assistant Director of the Investment Board expressed his enthusiasm for the appeal of the five companies that made up the national pavilion. They formed an excellent overview of what the clothing industry can offer in this country with healthy prospects for the future.
Desta Garment, Eltex textile and Velocity Apparel, manufacturers of more casual clothing, reflected the range of specialisation in different clothing: From sportswear to denim. The textile accessories from Village Industry built on their success in February 2018 and the traditional local skills were well demonstrated thanks to the collections from young fashion labels. Not wanting to omit any details about the Ethiopian ranges of products, we should mention the very first representation of their fabrics at Texworld Paris. Cambodia has also made the most of the opportunity. Its range of products selected from the weavers’ associations for handwoven silk was extremely well received. It primarily showcased scarves and shawls. At the end of the day it was the fabrics with ikat patterns that stole the show. This surprising phenomenon at a trade show dedicated to clothing production is an excellent illustration of the permeability of the different shows at the Fairyland for Fashion. Special mention goes to the excellent results achieved by the collection of jewellery made with metal recovered from land mines from the Cambodian civil war, created by Rajana Association.
China, still the prime supplier of clothing for France and Europe in 2018, remains, needless to say, one of the pillars of the clothing industry and continues to enter into collaborations with Western fashion brands. Jill Jiang from Shao Weihong believes that Apparel Sourcing Paris is a “great trade show, extremely well organised, with high-calibre visitors,” which save a considerable amount of time. Other major countries that are regular exhibitors at the show, represented in pavilions like Bangladesh or Pakistan, were not outdone. Pasch from the Pakistani Sarenna weaving mill resumes “We have not found a better way of meeting our customers in 15 years.” Murat Kungil from Lamartex, a specialist for woven cotton fabrics adds “the show has proven a major advantage for our business over the last 16 years.” The sole Jordanian exhibitor, Al Samah with their collection of sophisticated stockings caused quite a stir. Garments worn next to the skin were one of the main areas of visitors’ projects, such as swimwear, and especially athleisure and sportswear, which seem to have dominated labels’ new searches. Dictated by the season perhaps.
In the accessories section, which featured bags, belts, hats and gloves etc., men’s clothing (caps, first and foremost) appears to been the focus of demand, as were products with a strong vintage feel but also with an added twist.
Summer 2020 was definitely foremost in prime contractors’ minds. Shawls & Scarves therefore met with great success thanks to the profusion of scarves and shawls in cotton fabrics, mostly from India, but with some from China. The new “Artisan” circuit, grouping the skills on display at all the shows in the Fairyland For Fashion, showcased traditional silks from the Cambodian Khmer Artisanry, which lend outfits “added value thanks to their handcrafted quality,” according to the Manager Seila Polham. Ready-to-wear brands derive a real benefit from these traditional skills, even separately: hand-crafted products that are so much appreciated.
Another circuit that was very well attended this session was that of sustainable development: THE hot topic during this February 2019 show that created in some way a common “green” thread across the various segments in the Fairyland for Fashion.
The Services powered by Mouvtex segment, focussing on the services that are such a necessity for the smooth running of businesses and which was organised in all the shows at the Fairyland for Fashion, also demonstrated a very creative aspect. Alongside the major logistics services providers such as Bolloré Logistics, sourcing and networking such as Mouvtex or textileaddicts.com or QIMA’s certifications, there were further specialist organisations in the areas of design and styling with the fashion schools (ESMOD et AICP), companies providing training and consulting such as OsmoZ Group or P&C Partners, which concentrates on design consulting and PR. One of its founders, Marie-Aude Poulain, explains her surprise: “We have developed solid expertise when it comes to China, but contrary to all expectations it has been the Pakistanis and the Bangladeshis who took notice of our style and design services and also Ethiopia, which showed great interest in our PR services.” Even if this segment is somewhat separate from the usual offer, the quality of visitors convinced the majority of exhibitors.
The catwalk shows and lectures dedicated to new developments in the fashion industries did not disappoint, especially those relating to a mix of creative skills, such as the catwalk show from a variety of countries, grouping Ethiopian, Cambodian and Chinese designers or the catwalk show highlighting talent from Montfermeil. The lecture about the advantages offered by Ethiopia – definitely a country that is attracting a lot of interest – was very well attended. The presentation on skills and world heritage, even though it was on the final day of the show, left a lasting impression on the audience.