By  on September 11, 2007

PARIS — Facing a congested international trade show calendar, competition from the Far East and a daunting euro-dollar divide, France's foremost fabric fair, Première Vision, continues to put the accent on quality and innovative designs in order to lure international buyers to its latest edition this month.

According to organizers, the fair, which runs Sept. 18 to 21 at the Parc d'Expositions in Paris-Nord, Villepinte, will boast the shows "most creative selection to date," with new technology, intricate design methods and new markets fueling the offering.

"We must distinguish ourselves with innovative styles and high-quality fabric," said Philippe Pasquet, Première Vision's chief executive officer, asserting the strategy would keep designers placing orders despite currency issues. "The weak value of the dollar today is a major concern. But we expect that the desire for high quality and innovation will keep visitors from the United States placing orders."

American designers and fashion firms plan to attend the show in full force, while being vigilant about their purchasing.

"We will not be cutting back on orders or encouraging our design team to buy less, but we will emphasize the price-versus-value relationship and make sure they are keeping that in mind when making selections and purchasing decisions," said Paula Sutter, president of Diane von Furstenberg.

In an ongoing effort to appeal to a broader range of visitors, the show's badge system for select individual retailers, launched last season, will carry into next week's fair. Dubbed "Club," "Business Vision" and "Creative Vision," badges give priority access and services to select retailers, established fashion firms and young designers in order to ensure easy access at the show.

With 38 new manufacturers, this month's showing will boast a total of 733 exhibitors. According to Pasquet, the majority of newcomers are Italian manufacturers, including some century-old mills that are making their international debut.

"There are many Italian companies that have a very old savoir faire that have until now relied on their own markets," Pasquet said.

Expanding its reach into new markets continues to be a key strategy for organizers, and South Korea will make its first substantial showing at PV."[South] Korea is starting to acquire considerable textile experience," said Pasquet of the nine Korean exhibitors making their first foray into the European market. "[The country] now has gained extensive textile expertise. Much like Europe, they face fierce competition from China and India, so they shifted their savoir faire to focus on high-quality and innovative production, especially in high-tech fabrics."

Première Vision, which operates the concurrent Expofil and Indigo showcases, also hopes to extend its reach to new creative categories. For its Indigo trade show, organizers tapped industrial designer Matali Crasset and graphic designer Mathias Gaillaguet to design a lounge area dubbed "Espace Rencontres" that will feature their creations.

"We wanted to create a platform which demonstrates that our devotion to creation expands beyond the fashion category into other creative universes such as design and literature, and reinforce relations between fashion and the arts," Pasquet said.

Aiming to establish Première Vision as an international brand, a section at the show will exhibit visuals from PV's marquee shows in Tokyo, Shanghai, New York and Moscow.

"We are working hard to market Première Vision as an international brand," explained Pasquet. "The fair is recognized internationally. Première Vision is becoming a label."

Meanwhile, the fair said it would launch a new exhibition devoted to denim dubbed "Denim by Première Vision." The first exhibition will be held for two days on Dec. 4 and 5 at The Docks in Paris. It is expecting some 50 international firms, including denim manufacturers, denim process and finishing specialists and denim accessory specialists to exhibit from France and other countries.

"We conducted a market survey which confirmed that the industrial process for making denim fabrics was very long and industry specialists would benefit from more time," said Pasquet, who held out hope the new show would give manufacturers and retailers a head start in ordering and sourcing denim offerings.

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