Messe Frankfurt’s February 2017 Paris trade shows demonstrated calm optimism with a total of 13,559 visitors, meaning an increase of +6.9 per cent compared with the February 2016 show. The effects of the uncertainty experienced in February 2016, due to the challenging security issues, have returned to normal. A situation that puts the fashion industries back in an ideal position to move forwards. In fact, Europeans and Americans provided an average increase of 6 per cent at this February 2017 show. The French are keener than ever to attend the show and numbers have grown for the 3rd show in succession, amounting to +12 per cent this time. Italian visitors are up by 9 per cent, and those from Spain are also on the increase, up by 3 per cent. Extremely stable figures for the United Kingdom which still remains the second most represented country. Something of a surprise: The conspicuous presence of numerous trade visitors from Greece, an increase of 13 per cent, is evidence of a return to form for this well-known player in the sector.

Americans have found their way again to the Paris trade shows organised by Messe Frankfurt; compared with the results in February 2016, this is a 9 per cent increase in attendance. Nor is the South American continent not lagging behind and has shown a strong interest in the trade shows’ fashion business platform with increased attendance from Brazil and Argentina (+36 per cent) and from Mexico (+5 per cent). Contractors from Asia were not missing from this February’s meeting either, up by 9 per cent. Growing interest from African trade visitors: +17 per cent. The new Texworld and Apparel Sourcing shows in Addis Ababa are no doubt not irrelevant in this appetite for this business platform for all fashion-related industries.

Texworld Paris

“A truly successful show, both for visitors and for exhibitors, who regard it as a positive result, not seen for a long time. It was very obvious that the show got off to an excellent start when the doors opened on the very first day. The market was clearly very confident, less hesitant and more assured in terms of its activities. A statement confirmed by many exhibitors at Texworld Paris. The excellent number of visitors to the show, both in terms of quality and of numbers, has been the high point of this February 2017 show; most exhibitors established new business ties, in addition to serving their usual customers. The scenography, the classification according to material and, above all, the stands that opened out onto the aisles were again welcomed by visitors and the companies attending as they made meetings and business easier. ELITE also experienced an excellent second show; prime contractors seized the opportunities offered by this service concept and worked with assurance, efficiency and professionalism,” reports Michael Scherpe, President of Messe Frankfurt France.

Very active and high-quality visitors

Spring had very nearly arrived in the aisles at Texworld Paris, the trade fair for fabrics, trimmings and accessories for fashion: bringing a breath of fresh air with new products and giving some 730 exhibitors an urge to roll up their sleeves and get things moving. At Paris Le Bourget between 6 and 9 February 2017, visitors demonstrated (renewed) confidence in their choices and a definite determination to bring their projects to a successful conclusion. “Order” was without the slightest doubt the word spoken most during conversations at this show, while not so long ago “contact” was the buzzword. However the word “contact” was still popular, very much heard during the four days of the show, mainly combined with the adjective “new”. The great majority of exhibitors observed the arrival of fashion brands and businesses, of major groups or luxury ready to- wear brands that were not – or sometimes were no longer – in their portfolio of clients.

Their satisfaction was all the greater because their usual customers were also there to see them. “Our exhibitors are very satisfied with this show as many buyers have come to see us. The layout of stands facilitated contact, which made for a good business climate. We already knew very many visitors and we can now rank Spain and the United Kingdom among our new customers. We have attended Texworld Paris for nine years and I can tell you that it is an event definitely not to be missed,” says Kelly Parc from the Korean Textile Centre.

Other grounds for satisfaction among the exhibitors: The decision-makers were well and truly present, something that speeded up the selection process and conclusion of agreements. A feeling that prevailed in particular at ELITE, the segment for textile firms with strong added value for “services” This second show confirms how relevant the concept is, since the 21 exhibitors, in their special space designed by Olivier Lapidus, encountered only well-informed, knowledgeable and professional visitors. “We have attended Texworld Paris for the last four years. Starting last September, we have chosen to be at ELITE and we notice a distinct improvement. This space delivers important customers for us but also some pioneering independent designers. We intend to stay at ELITE” states Can Yilmaz from the Turkish firm of weavers Herboy. Worth noting: attendance by American buyers at Texworld Paris was especially Conspicuous.

Some key aspects of the products on offer

While contractors’ confidence definitely made itself felt, they were not unreceptive to discovering new things. For instance, Opportunité, the general forum for trends in spring/summer 2018, planned by the artistic Directors, received an extremely large number of visitors for longer periods. Its hub was the “Sustainable” forum, since, where the artistic Directors are concerned, ethical and environmental aspects are integrated more and more in the collections they design.

The textile ranges at Texworld Paris also looked “technical” for many visitors, in the sense that greater efforts have been made in research and development. It is the case with Chinese exhibitors who are facing a challenge from domestic consumers, who have become more and more knowledgeable about fashion, and with international brands who are always searching to differentiate themselves.

Madhukumar Reddy, Co- Secretary at the Indian Ministry for Textiles pointed out: “India is focussing on its unique skills – often very close to craftsmanship – in terms of embroidery.” And this did not fail to escape visitors’ notice as they thronged around the wealth of offers from companies specialising in embroidery, who were often from India. The Korean Liul also enjoyed success with their speciality of embellished lightweight prints.

Cotton also drew visitors’ attention; Ahmed Menna from El Hesn (which presented a collection of Egyptian cotton with a very wide assortment of qualities) remarks on “organisation that encouraged dialogue. It is easy for people to come and see our collections and to inform themselves. Forging new ties was the order of the day.” The same story can be heard from the Portuguese weaver 6 Dias, a specialist in embroidered cotton, at the stands of the Pakistani Nishat Mills and from the Bangladeshi Zaber & Zubair, specialists in casual cotton and an exhibitor at ELITE.

We observe that the very technical fabrics in the Lenzing pavilion, silk and especially linen and hemp have had a very good reception. Hans Diekema from the Dutch linen specialist Northern Linen confirmed “We have been extremely busy this show. Linen is experiencing ever more success and as this is our area of expertise, this show has turned out to be the best in two years.”

Away from the product ranges at the trade fair, buyers were able to form their opinions thanks to Pantone colour presentations and the trends show by the show’s artistic directors, rounded off by the FRANKfurtstyle awards catwalk shows, an international competition for fashion students from the city of Frankfurt, and above all, Denimotion dedicated to an denim segment that is as ebullient as ever.

Apparel Sourcing Paris

“With regard to Apparel Sourcing, it must be said that the visitors to this show had full authority to make decisions. Qualifications that did not escape the notice of exhibitors. The latter have also praised the great diversity of fashion brands that were represented: major global players through to young companies having acquired a certain reputation and including well-established ready-to-wear names. This diversity is reflected in buyers’ countries of origin; Russians, British, French and above all North and South Americans were frequently to be seen at the stands,” reports Michael Scherpe, President of Messe Frankfurt France.

The no.1 European trade show for sourcing clothing and accessories welcomed the decision-makers, movers and shakers from all clothing and accessories sectors to Paris Le Bourget, between 6 and 9 February 2017. The wide range of fields of activity was remarked on by the 272 exhibitors. While of course women’s and men’s ready-to wear – formal, casual and creative – still concerns the bulk of visitors, major European sportswear labels were especially busy at stands during this show devoted to spring summer 2018. For instance, the Ethiopian pavilion – a first! – that grouped five family businesses (ten years in business for some) held a special interest for this casual/sportswear sector. The Ethiopian Morges Mekoya from GMM Garment PLC confirms the standard and diversity of visitors, “We are here for the first time; it is a very good idea to mix small companies like mine with more major clothing manufacturers. We were expecting a reasonable amount of success but we welcomed more mid-sized French or Russian firms, whose buyers proved to be of a high-calibre and very discerning.”

An opinion shared by Vibha Arora from Internet Exports India “All is going well. People don’t enter the stand unless they are really interested in our products or because they know what they want. They are proving to be good buyers. 30 per cent of them are working on behalf of large well-known groups.” A surprise lay in store for the Guatemalan exhibitors who have been able to meet new customers from the Americas, even if the United States is their preferred market that they know very well.

Visitors have also been curious, based on their business strategy. The Uzbek Ibragimov Rustam Ismailovich from Imir, a manufacturer of men’s suits, confirms this, “We have made plenty of contacts among proactive visitors who have shown a keen interest and asked numerous questions about the Uzbek clothing industry.” Curiosity that was also manifest at the Sri Lankan Screenline Imaging and in the Shawls and Scarves – The Accessories Showcase as a whole. The latter remains just as attractive for companies on the lookout for accessories collections under private labels. The presentations of manufacturing skills and expertise, the need to discover new products and networking have carried through in numerous orders. Something that has been reported by many companies with the ratio of visitors to orders sometimes verging on 70 per cent.

Denim also attracted greater attention, but with a particular feature: The conspicuous presence of retail chains or retailers. This was the case, for instance, for the Canadian jeans manufacturer Dizzaro, who found new distribution points for their own brand “Maker of True Originals.” Morocco also played a definite role by taking part in special presentations on denim and in the fashion shows Denimotion and Morocco on Stage, a showcase open to all the clothing production skills from Morocco. Its extremely diverse offer, from uniforms to knitwear, via denim of course, and lingerie, was able to attract the attention of visitors, to include Erum Maroc, a specialist in clothes hangers, fairly bemused by their success.

The enthusiasm for Moroccan procurement shown by prime contractors was confirmed by the presentations organised on the subject of the latest trends in sourcing. Bangladesh and Pakistan, whose ranges are perennials at the show, Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia are alternatives that are currently strongly appreciated.

Avantex Paris

Avantex Paris, the trade fair dedicated to innovative solutions and products for fashion, strengthens its position and builds on meaningful discussions between fashion and new technologies. The organisation was lauded by exhibitors and visitors alike for its flow, clear and uncluttered presentation, arranged around the agora, which is the centre for panel discussions and discussions on future prospects.

The 4th Avantex Paris show provided a global, transverse offer for the innovative fashion. Textile manufacturers, colleges, institutions and high-tech designers (for prototyping, eco design and manufacture, marketing and sales, the blending of new functionalities with fashion products etc.) were all present at a meeting of the vanguard of the textile industry. An overview of the show, segment by segment:

“Material & Components”

The borders between technical skills and fashion expertise are blurring resulting in a promising hybridisation for new applications. Further acclaim for the Techtera Collection by 2G2L, an exclusive presentation at Avantex Paris, where technical textiles from manufacturers in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region have been used for the first time by fashion designers to create clothing. Louis Gérin and Grégory Lamaud were able to demonstrate with great brio that cutting-edge textile expertise aimed at industry can find added value and new market opportunities in innovative fashion.

“Discussions started out with plenty of optimism thanks to the exhibition of these 17 highly fashionable outfits, which, like mini-Jacondas, aroused curiosity, admiration and interest,” enthuses Hadrien Laroche, the representative for Techtera, before continuing “indeed, some major companies expressed their willingness to adopt this hybrid approach in their production and private institutions offered to exhibit the Techtera by 2G2L collection abroad.”

“Prototype Studio”

Now marked by a hyperconnected professional life, the design and innovation studio is building on the links between technology and the human, rethinking the idea of performance in favour of meaningful value; they advocate collaborative work, socialisation and gaming (cf. the work of Loève Saint-Ourens, founder of Loève Studio). Visitors were on the lookout for solutions to help their design processes in the initial stages before manufacture. “A high standard of visitors and substantial numbers helped to put us in touch with international contacts earlier than anticipated. The product was received very positively where exporting was concerned (in particular to India, China and Bangladesh), with some excellent opportunities for sales conversion,” says Audrey-Laure Bergenthal, Designer at Euveka. A trend to watch: Requests from professionals for vertically integrated projects, following the example of the designers Twins Paris, who have received requests for entire projects for sourcing, prototyping and pattern design.

“Smart Retail”

The desire to build a personal long-term relationship with the client, in their community, draws companies to made to-measure, to bespoke products, even hyper-personalisation. “The emergence of the connected human should be linked at the point of sale: Work needs to be carried out on the act of buying but also on relevant, customised and scalable usage that is kept updated. It is the exclusivity, desirability and fast-paced innovation that make it possible to give substance to the emotional dimension of consumption,” explains Valérie Jourdan, Founder and CEO of Promise Consulting Inc. Visitors were able to plunge into the retail world of the future at the Tô & Guy stand with a virtual reality headset that immerses you in a sales space designed to resemble an art exhibition, where the outfits can be examined from every aspect. The designers are about to apply this concept to a hyper-customised Parisian pop-up.

“Clothing & Accessories”

As products that are constantly designed anew to meet market targets, clothing and accessories today constitute the manifestos for innovation. For Vincent Poyer, an engineer and designer at Neophoria, the key words for his line in connected neo leather goods are “intelligence, performance, use, valuable and secure service for every day, for elegance and confidence on the go.” The goal of his attendance at Avantex Paris was to test the market: A test that succeeded as the line of bags met with astounding success with international retailers (China, India, Italy, the Middle East). The same strategy for testing the market is pursued by Wolford, which showed a preview of its biodegradable stockings and tights, in cradle-to-cradle production. “We are both surprised and delighted to see that the circular economy is a familiar subject, acting as a lever for true innovation in fashion as consumption is changing and the desire to change things is great. It is very encouraging for our approach,” comments Clara Mattioli, Global Communication Wolford